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CALL 

TO 

THE UNCONVERTED, 

TO 

TURN AND LIVE. 

BY REV. RICHARD BAXTER, 

"WHO DI3D A. D. 1691. 



PUBLISHED BY THE 

AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY, 

150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW YORK. 




This edition has been compared with the London edition of 
Baxter's works, in twenty-three volumes, 1830. Some obso- 
lete terms and antiquated forms of expression have been 
changed, and an obscure passage at the beginning of Doctrine 
3, with a few lines touching points on which Evangelical 
Christians differ, omitted. 



The Library 
of Congress 

WASHINGTON 



CONTENTS. 



A. Preface to the Unsanctified, exhorting them to turn and 

live,. * . . .. . 7 

The Text opened, 21 

DOCTRINE I. It is the unchangeable Law of God, 
that wicked men must turn or die, . . . .25 
Objection. God will not be so Unmerciful as to damn 

us — Answered, 28 

Who are wicked men, and what conversion is ; and 
how we may know whether we are wicked or con- 
verted, 35 

DOCT. II. It is the promise of God, that the wicked 
shall live, if they will but turn — unfeignedly and thor- 
oughly turn, ........ 58 



DOCT. III. God taketh pleasure in men's conversion 
and salvation, but not in their death or damnation. He 
had rather they would turn and live, than go on and die, 67 

DOCT. IV. The Lord hath confirmed it to us by his 
oath, that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, 
but rather that he turn and live ; that he may leave man 
no pretence to question the truth of it, . * . . . 75 

Who is it then that takes pleasure in men's sin and 
death ? Not God, nor ministers, nor any good men, 76 

DOCT. V. So earnest is God for the conversion of 
sinners that he doubleth his commands and exhortations, 
with vehemency — " Turn ye, turn ye" ... 84 

Some motives to obey God's call, and turn, . . 87 



4 



CONTENTS. 



DOCT. VI. The Lord condescendeth to reason the 
case with unconverted sinners, and to ask them why they 
will die, . . . . ... . .102 

A strange disputation. 1. For the question. 2. The 
disputants, . - . . . . . . 102 

Wicked men will die, or destroy themselves, . . 103 
Sinners are certainly unreasonable, .... 103 

Their seeming reasons confuted, .... 109 

Question. Why are men so unreasonable, and loath to 
turn, that they will thus destroy themselves ? — An- 
swered, . . . . . . . . 128 

DOCT. VII. If after all this men will not turn, it is 
not the fault of God that they are condemned, but their 
own, even their own wilfulness. They die because they 
will, that is, because they will not turn, . . . 133 

1. How unfit the wicked are to charge God with their 
damnation. It is not because God is unmerciful, but 
because they are cruel and merciless to themselves, 142 

Objection. "We cannot convert ourselves — Answered, 147 

2. The subtlety of Satan, the deceitfulness of sin and 

the folly of sinners manifested, . . . 149 

3. No wonder if the wicked would hinder the conver- 
sion and salvation of others, . . . ' . 150 

4. -Man is the greatest enemy to liimself, . . . 150 
Mans destruction is of himself, . . . . 151 
The heinous aggravations of self-destruction, . . 159 
The concluding exhortation, . . . .162 
Ten directions for those who had rather turn than die, 168 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



THE GREAT SUCCESS WHICH ATTENDED THE CALL 
WHEN EIRST PUBLISHED. 



It may be proper to prefix an account of this book given by 
Mr. Baxter himself, which was found in his study after his 
death, in his own words : 

" I published a short treatise on conversion entitled, A Call 
to the Unconverted. The occasion of this was my converse 
with Bishop Usher while I was at London ; who, approving 
my method and directions for Peace of Conscience, was impor- 
tunate with me to write directions suited to the various states 
of Christians, and also against particular sins. I reverenced 
the man, but disregarded these persuasions, supposing I could 
do nothing but what is done better already : but when he was 
dead his words went deeper to my mind, and I purposed to 
obey his counsel ; yet, so as that to the first sort of men, the 
ungodly, I thought vehement persuasions meeter than direc- 
tions only ; and so for such I published this little book, which 
God hath blessed with unexpected success, beyond all the rest 
that I have written, except The Saints' Rest. In a little more 
than a year there were about twenty thousand of them printed 
by my own consent, and about ten thousand since, besides 
many thousands by stolen impressions, which poor men stole 
for lucre's sake. Through God's mercy I have information of 



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ADVERTISEMENT. 



almost whole households converted by this small book which 
I set so light by ; and, as if all this in England, Scotland, 
and Ireland, were not mercy enough to me, God, since I was 
silenced, hath sent it over in his message to many beyond the 
seas ; for when Mr. Eliot had printed all the Bible in the Ind- 
ian language, he next translated this my Call to the Uncon- 
verted, as he wrote to us here. And yet God would make 
some farther use of it ; for Mr. Stoop, the pastor of the French 
Church in London, being driven hence by the displeasure of 
his superiors, was pleased to translate it into French. I hope 
it will not be unprofitable there ; nor in Germany, where also 
it has been printed." 

It may be proper further to mention Dr. Bates' account of 
the author of this useful treatise. In his sermon at Mr. Bax- 
ter's funeral, he thus says ; " His books of practical divinity 
have been effectual for more conversions of sinners to God 
than any printed in our time ; and while the church remains 
on earth, will be of continual efficacy to recover lost souls. 
There is a vigorous pulse in them, that keeps the reader 
awake and attentive. His Call to the Unconverted, how 
small in bulk, but how powerful ! Truth speaks in it with 
such authority and efficacy, that it makes the reader to lay 
his hand upon his heart, and find that he has a soul and a 
conscience, though he lived before as if he had none. He 
told some friends, that six brothers were converted by reading 
this Call ; and that every week he received letters of some 
converted by his books. This he spake with most humble 
thankfulness, that God was pleased to use him as an instru- 
ment for the salvation of souls.' 



FROM THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE 



TO ALL UNSANCTIFIED PERSONS THAT SHALL READ THIS 
BOOK, ESPECIALLY OF MY HEARERS IN KIDDERMINSTER. 



Men and Brethren — The eternal God, that made you 
for a life everlasting, and hath redeemed you by his only 
Son, when you had lost it and yourselves, being mindful of 
you in your sin and misery, hath indited the Gospel, and 
sealed it by his Spirit, and commanded his ministers to 
preach it to the world ; that pardon being freely offered 
you, and Heaven being set before you, he might call you 
off from your fleshly pleasures, and from following after 
this deceitful world, and acquaint you with the life that 
you were created and redeemed for, before you are dead 
and past remedy. He sendeth you not prophets or apos- 
tles, that receive their message by immediate revelation , 
but yet he calleth you by his ordinary ministers, who are 
commissioned by him to preach the same Gospel which 
Christ and his apostles first delivered. The Lord seeth 
how you forget him and your latter end, and how light 
you make of everlasting things, as men that understand 
not what they have to do or suffer. He seeth how bold 
you are in sin, how fearless of his threatenings, and how 
careless of your souls, and how the works of infidels are 



8 



PREFACE, 



in your lives, while the belief of Christians is in your 
mouths. He seeth the dreadful day at hand, when your 
sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with 
fruitless cries in torment and desperation : then the re- 
membrance of your folly will tear your hearts, if true 
conversion now prevent it not. 

In compassion to }~our sinful miserable souls, the Lord, 
that better knows your case than you can know it, hath 
made it our duty to speak to you in his name, 2 Cor. 5 : 19, 
and to tell you plainly of your sin and misery, and what 
will be your end, and how sad a change you will shortly 
see, if yet you go on a little longer. Having bought you 
at so dear a rate as the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, and 
made you so free and general a promise of pardon, and 
grace, and everlasting glory ; he commandeth us to ten- 
der all this to you as the gift of God, and to entreat you 
to consider the necessity and worth of what he offers. 
He sees and pities you, while you are drowned in worldly 
cares and pleasures, eagerly following childish toys, and 
wasting that short and precious time for a thing of naught, 
m which you should make ready for an everlasting life ; 
and therefore he hath commanded us to call after you and 
tell you how you lose your labor and are about to lose 
your souls, and tell you what greater and better things 
you might certainly have if you would hearken to his call. 
Isa. 55 : 1, 2, 3. We believe and obey the voice of God ; 
and come to you on his message, who hath charged us to 
preach, and be instant with you in season and out of sea- 
son, to lift up our voice like a trumpet, and show you your 
transgressions and your sins. Isa. 58 : 1 ; 2 Tim. 4:1,2. 

But, alas ! to the grief of our souls and your undoing, 
you stop your ears, you stiffen your necks, you harden 



PREFACE. 



9 



your hearts ; and sena us back to God with groans, to tell 
him that we have done his message, but can do no good 
to you, nor scarcely get a sober hearing. Oh! that our 
eyes were as a fountain of tears, that we might lament 
our ignorant careless people, that have Christ, and pardon, 
and life, and heaven before them, and have not hearts to 
know or value them ! that might have Christ, and grace, 
and glory, as well as others, if it were not for their wilful 
negligence and contempt ! O that the Lord would fill our 
hearts with more compassion to these miserable souls, 
that we might cast ourselves even at their feet, and follow 
them to their houses, and speak to them with our bitter 
tears. For long have we preached to many of them in 
vain. We study plainness, to make them understand, and 
many of them will not understand us ; we study serious 
piercing words, to make them feel, but they will not feel. 
If the greatest matters would work with them, we should 
awake them ; if the sweetest things would work, we should 
entice them and win their hearts ; if the most dreadful 
things would work, we should at least affright them from 
their wickedness ; if truth and sincerity would take with 
them, we should soon convince them; if the God that 
made them, and Christ that bought them, might be heard, 
the case would soon be altered with them ; if Scripture 
might be heard, we should soon prevail ; if reason, even 
the best and strongest reason, might be heard, we should 
not doubt but we should speedily convince them : if expe- 
rience might be heard, even their own experience and the 
experience of all the world, the matter might be mended ; 
yea, if the conscience within them might be heard, the case 
would be better with them than it is. But if nothing can 
be heard, what then shall we do for them ? If the dread- 



10 



PREFACE. 



ful God of heaven be slighted, who then shall be regarded ? 
If the inestimable love and blood of a Redeemer be made 
light of, what then shall be valued ? If heaven have no 
desirable glory with them, and everlasting joys be nothing 
worth ; if they can jest at hell, and dance about the bot- 
tomless pit, and play with the consuming fire, and that 
when God and man warn them of it, what shall we do for 
such souls as these ? 

Once more, in the name of the God of heaven, I shall 
do the message to you which he hath commanded us, and 
leave it in these standing lines to convert you or condemn 
you ; to change you, or rise up in judgment against you, 
and to be a witness to your faces that once you had a 
serious call to turn. Hear, all you that are drudges of the 
world and servants of the flesh and Satan! that spend 
your days in looking after prosperity on earth, and drown 
your conscience in drinking, and gluttony, and idleness, 
and foolish sports ; and know your sin, and yet will sin, as 
if you set God at defiance, and bade him do his worst and 
spare not ! Hearken, all you that mind not God, and 
nave no heart to holy things, and feel no savor in the word 
or worship of the Lord, or in the thoughts or mention of 
eternal life ; that are careless of your immortal souls, and 
never bestow one hour in inquiring what case they are in, 
whether sanctified or unsanctified, and whether you are 
ready to appear before the Lord ! Hearken, all you that, 
by sinning in light, have sinned yourselves into infidelity, 
and do not believe the word of God. He that hath an 
ear to hear, let him hear the gracious and yet dreadful 
call of God ! His eye is all the while upon you. Your 
sins are registered, and you shall surely hear of them 
again. God keepeth the book now ; and he will write it 



PREFACE. 



11 



upon your consciences with his terrors ; and then you also 
shall keep it yourselves ! O sinners, that you but knew 
what you are doing, and whom you are all this while 
offending ! The sun itself is darkness before the glory 
of that Majesty which you daily abuse and carelessly pro- 
voke. The sinning angels were not able to stand before 
him, but were cast down to be tormented with devils. 
And dare such worms as you so carelessly offend, and set 
yourselves against your Maker ! O that you did but a 
little know what a case that wretched soul is in, that hath 
engaged the living God against him ! The word of his 
mouth that made thee, can unmake thee ; the frown of his 
face will cut thee off and cast thee out into outer darkness. 
How eager are the devils to be doing with thee, that have 
tempted thee, and do but wait for the word from God to 
take and use thee as their own ! and then in a moment 
thou wilt be in hell. If God be against thee, all things 
are against thee : this world is but thy prison, for all thou 
so lovest it ; thou art but reserved in it to the day of wrath, 
Job 21 : 30 ; the Judge is coming, thy soul is even going. 
Yet a little while, and thy friend shall say of thee, "He is 
dead ;" and thou shalt see the things that thou now dost 
despise, and feel that which now thou wilt not believe. 
Death will bring such an argument as thou canst not an- 
swer ; an argument that shall effectually confute thy cavils 
against the word and ways of God. And then how soon 
will thy mind be changed ! Then be an unbeliever if thou 
canst; stand then to all thy former v/ords, which thou wast 
wont to utter against a holy and a heavenly life. Make good 
that cause then before the Lord which thou wast wont to 
plead against thy teachers, and against the people that 
feared God. Then stand to thy old opinions and con- 



PREFACE. 



temptuous thoughts of the diligence of the saints : make 
ready now thy strong reasons, and stand up then before 
the Judge and plead like a man for thy fleshly, thy worldly, 
thy ungodly life. But know that thou wilt have One to 
plead with that will not be outfaced by thee ; nor so easily 
put off as we thy fellow-creatures. 

O deceived, wretched soul ! there is nothing but a 
slender veil of flesh between thee and that amazing sight, 
which will quickly silence thee, and turn thy tone, and 
make thee of another mind ! As soon as death hath drawn 
this curtain, thou shalt see that which will quickly leave 
thee speechless. And how quickly will that day and hour 
come ! When thou hast had but a few more merry hours, 
and but a few more pleasant draughts and morsels, and a 
little more of the honors and riches of the world, thy por- 
tion will be spent, and thy pleasures ended, and all is then 
gone that thou settest thy heart upon: of all that thou 
soldest thy Saviour and salvation for, there is nothing left 
but the heavy reckoning. As a thief, that sits merrily 
spending the money which he hath stolen in an alehouse, 
when men are riding in posthaste to apprehend him, so is 
it with you. While you are drowned in cares of fleshly 
pleasures, and making merry with your own shame, death 
is coming in posthaste to seize upon you, and carry your 
soul to such a place and state as now you little know or 
think of. Suppose, when you are bold and busy in your 
sin, that a messenger were but coming posthaste to ap- 
prehend you and take away your life ; though you saw 
him not, yet if you knew that he was coming, it would 
mar your mirth, and you would be tliinking of the haste 
he makes, and hearkening when he knocked at your door. 
O that you could but see what haste Death makes, though 



PREFACE. 



18 



he has not yet overtaken you ! No post so swift ; no mes- 
senger more sure. As sure as the sun will be with you 
in the morning, though it hath many thousand and hundred 
thousand miles to go in the night, so sure will Death be 
quickly with you ; and then where is your sport and pleas- 
ure ? Then will you jest and brave it out ? Then will 
you jeer at them that warned you ? Then is it better to 
be a believing saint, or a sensual worldling ? And then 
whose shall all these things be that you have gathered? 
Luke 12 : 19-21. Do you not observe that days and weeks 
are quickly gone, and nights and mornings come apace, 
and speedily succeed each other ? You sleep, but your 
damnation slumbereth not ; you linger, but your judgment 
this long time lingereth not, to which you are reserved 
for punishment. 2 Pet 2 : 3-9. O that you were wise to 
understand this, and that you did consider your latter end ! 
Deut. 32 : 29. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear 
the call of God in this day of his salvation. 

O careless sinners! that you did but know the love 
that you unthankfully neglect, and the preciousness of the 
blood of Christ which you despise ! O that you did but 
know the riches of the Gospel ! O that you did but know 
a little the certainty, and the glory and blessedness of that 
everlasting life, which now you will not set your hearts 
upon, nor be persuaded first and diligently to seek. Heb. 
11 : 6, and 12 : 28 ; and Matt. 6 : 13. Did you but know 
the endless life with God which you now neglect, how 
quickly would you cast away your sin, how quickly would 
you change your mind and life, your course and company, 
and turn the streams of your affections, and lay out your 
care another way. How resolutely would you scorn to 
yield to such temptations as now deceive you and carry 



14 



PREFACE. 



you away. How zealously would you bestir yourselves 
for that most blessed life. How earnest would you be 
with God in prayer. How diligent in hearing, learning, 
and inquiring. How serious in meditating on the laws 
of God. Psa. 1 : 2. How fearful of sinning in thought, 
word, or deed ; and how careful to please God and grow 
in holiness. O what a changed people you would be ! And 
why should not the certain word of God be believed by 
you, and prevail with you, which openeth to you these 
glorious and eternal things ? 

Yea, let me tell you that even here on earth you little 
know the difference between the life you refuse and the 
life you choose. The sanctified are conversing with God 
when you dare scarce think of him, and when you are 
conversing with but earth and flesh. Their conversation 
is in heaven, when you are utter strangers to it, and your 
belly is your god and you are minding earthly tilings 
Phil. 3 : 18-20. They are seeking after the face of God, 
when you seek for nothing higher than this world. They 
are busily laying up for an endless life, where they shall 
be equal with the angels, Luke 20 : 36, when you are 
taken up with a shadow and a transitory thing of naught 
How low and base is your earthly, fleshly, sinful life, in 
comparison of the noble spiritual life of true believers. 
Many a time have I looked on such men with grief and 
pity, to see them trudge about the world, and spend their 
lives, and care and labor for nothing but a little food and 
raiment, or a little fading pelf, or fleshly pleasures, or 
empty honors, as if they had no higher things to mind. 
What difference is the^e Detween the lives of these men 
and of the beasts tnat perish, that spend their time in work- 
ing, and eating, and living but that they may live ? They 



PREFACE. 



15 



taste not the inward heavenly pleasures which believers 
taste and live upon. I had rather have a little of their 
comfort, which the forethoughts of their heavenly inher- 
itance afford them, though I had all their scorn and suf 
fering with it, than to have all your pleasures and treach- 
erous prosperity. I would not have one of your secret 
jmngs of conscience, and dark and dreadful thoughts of 
death and the life to come, for all that ever the world hath 
done for you, or all that you can reasonably hope that it 
should do. ' If I were in your unconverted carnal state, 
and knew but what I know, and believed but what I now 
believe, metliinks my life would be a foretaste of hell. 
How oft should I be thinking of the terrors of the Lord, 
and of the dismal day that is hastening on ! Sure death 
and hell would be still before me. I should think of them 
by day, and dream of them by night ; I should lie down 
in fear, and rise in fear, and live in fear, lest death should 
come before I were converted. I should have small felic- 
ity in any thing that I possessed, and little pleasure in 
any company, and little joy in any thing in the world, as 
long as I knew myself to be under the curse and wrath 
of God. I should be still afraid of hearing that voice, 
" Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee." 
Luke 12 : 20. And that fearful sentence would be written 
upon my conscience, " There is no peace, saith my God, 
to the wicked." Isa. 48 : 22 ; 57 : 21. 

O poor sinners ! It is a more joyful life than this that 
you might live if you were but willing, but truly willing 
to hearken to Christ, and come home to God. You might 
then draw near to God with boldness, and call him your 
Father, and comfortably trust him with your souls and 
Bodies. If you look upon the promises, you may say, 



lb 



PREFACE 



They are all mine. If upon the curse, you may say, From 
this I am delivered. When you read the law, you may 
see what you are saved from. When you read the Gos- 
pel, you may see him mat redeemed you. and see the 
course of his love, and holy life, and sufferings, and trace 
him in his temptations, tears, and blood, in the work of 
your salvation. You may see death conquered and heaven 
opened, and your resurrection and glorification provided 
for in the resurrection and glorification of your Lord. If 
you look on the saints, you may say, They are my brethren 
and companions. If on the unsanc titled, you may rejoice 
to think that you are saved from that state. If you look 
upon the heavens, the sun, and moon, and stars innumer- 
able, you may think and say. My Father's face is iminitely 
more glorious ; it is higher matters that he hath prepared 
for his saints : yonder is but the outward court of heaven. 
The blessedness that he hath promised me is so much 
higher, that flesh and blood cannot behold it. If you think 
of the grave, you may remember that the glorified Spirit, 
a living Head, and a loving Father, have all so near a 
relation to your dust, that it cannot be forgotten or neg- 
lected, but will more certainly revive than the plants and 
flowers in the spring : because the soul is still alive, which 
is the root of the body : and Christ is alive, which is the 
root of both. Even death, which is the king of fears, may 
be remembered and entertained with joy, as being the day 
of your deliverance from the remnant of sin and sorrow: 
the day which you believed, and hoped, and waited for, 
when you shall see the blessed things which you had 
heard of, and shall find by present joyful experience what 
it was to choose the better part, and to be a sincere be- 
lieving saint What say you, sirs ? Is not tins a more 



PREFACE. 



delightful life, to be assured of salvation and ready to die, 
than to live as the ungodly, that have their hearts over-" 
charged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares 
of this life, and so that day comes upon them unawares ? 
Luke 21 : 34, 36. Might you not live a comfortable life, 
if once you were made the heirs of heaven, and sure to 
be saved when you leave the world ? O look about you, 
then, and think what you do, and cast not away such hopes 
as these for very nothing. The flesh and the world can 
give you no such hopes or comforts. 
I have but three requests to you, and I have done. 

1. That you will seriously read over this small treatise ; 
and if you have such as need it in your families, that you 
will read it over and over to them ; and if those that fear 
God would go now and then to their ignorant neighbors, 
and read this or some other book to them on this subject, 
they might be a means of winning souls. If we cannot 
entreat so small a labor of men for their own salvation as 
to read such short instructions as these, they set little by 
themselves, and will most justly perish. 

2. When you have read over this book, I would entreat 
you to go alone and ponder a little what you have read, 
and bethink you, as in the sight of God, whether it be not 
true, and do not nearly touch your, souls, and whether it 
be not time to look about you. . And also entreat you, that 
you will upon your knees beseech the Lord that he will 
open your eyes to understand the truth, and turn your 
hearts to the love of God, and beg of him all that saving 
grace which you have so long neglected, and follow it on 
from day to day, till your hearts be changed. And withal, 
that you will go to your pastors — that are set over you to 
take care of the health and safety of your souls, as phy- 

o 

* B. CaU. 



13 



PREFACE. 



sicians do for the health of your hodies — and desire tnem 
to direct you what course to take, and acquaint them with 
your spiritual state, that you may have the benefit of then 
advice and ministerial help. 

If you have not a faithful pastor at home, make use of 
some other in so great a need. 

3. When, by reading, consideration, prayer, and minis- 
terial advice, you are once acquainted with your sin and 
misery, with your duty and remedy, delay not, but pres- 
ently forsake your sinful company and courses, and turn 
to God and obey his call. As you love your souls, take 
heed that you go not on against so loud a call of God, 
and against your own knowledge and conscience, lest it 
go worse with you in the day of judgment than with Sodom 
and Gomorrah. Inquire of God, as a man that is willing 
to know the truth, and not be a wilful cheater of his soul. 
Search the holy Scriptures daily, and see whether these 
things be so : try impartially whether it be safer to trust 
heaven or earth, and whether it be better to follow God or 
man, the Spirit or the flesh, better to live in holiness or 
sin, and whether an unsanctified state be safe for you tc 
abide in one day longer ; and when you have found out 
which is best, resolve accordingly, and make your choice 
without any more ado. If you will be true to your own 
soils, and do not love everlasting torments, I beseech you, 
as from the Lord, that you will but take this reasonable 
advice. Then at your deathbed how boldly might we 
comfort and encourage your departing souls! And at 
your burial, how comfortably might we leave you in the 
grave, in expectation to meet your souls in heaven, and to 
see your bodies raised to that glory ! 

But, if still the most of you will go on in a careless 



PREFACE. 



19 



ignorant, fleshly, worldly, or unholy life, and all our de- 
sires and labors cannot so far prevail as to keep you from 
the wilful dpjnning of yourselves, we must then imitate 
our Lord, who delighteth himself in those few that are 
jewels, and in a little flock that shall receive the kingdom, 
when the most shall reap the misery which they sowed. 
In nature, excellent things are few. The world hath not 
many suns or moons ; it is but a little of the earth that is 
gold or silver. Princes and nobles are but a small part 
of the sons of men : it is no great number that are learned, 
judicious, or wise, here in this world. And, therefore, if 
the gate being strait and very narrow, there be but few 
that find salvation, yet God will have his glory and pleas- 
ure in those few. And when Christ shall come with his 
mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them 
that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lorti 
Jesus Christ, his coming will be glorified in his saints, auc 
axlmired in all true believers. 2 Thess. 1 : 7-10. 

And for the rest, as God the Father vouchsafed to cre- 
ate them, and God the Son disdained not to bear the pen- 
alty of their sins upon the cross, and did not judge such 
sufferings vain, though he knew that by refusing the sanc- 
tification of the Holy Ghost they would finally destroy 
themselves, so we, that are his ministers, though these be 
not gathered, judge not our labor wholly lost. See Isa. 
49:5. 

Reader, I have done with thee, when thou hast perused 
this book, but sin hath not yet done with thee, even those 
that thou thoughtest had been forgotten long ago ; and 
Satan hath not yet done with thee, though now he be out 
of sight ; and God hath not yet done with thee, because 
thou wilt not be persuaded to have done with deadly 



20 



PREFACE. 



reigning sin. I have written thee this persuasive, as one 
that is going into another world, where the things are 
seen that I here speak of, and as one that knoweth thou 
must be shortly there thyself. As ever thou wilt meet me 
with comfort before the Lord that made us; as ever thou 
wilt escape the everlasting plagues prepared for the final 
neglecters of salvation, and for all that are not sanctified 
by the Holy Ghost, and love not the communion of the 
saints as members of the holy catholic church; and as 
ever thou hopest to see the face of Christ the Judge, and 
of the majesty of the Father, with peace and comfort, and 
to be received into glory when thou art turned naked out 
of this world ; I beseech thee, I charge thee, to hear and 
obey the call of God, and resolvedly to turn, that thou 
mayest live. But, if thou wilt not, even when thou hast 
no true reason for it but because thou wilt not, I summon 
thee to answer it before the Lord, and require thee there 
to bear me witness that I gave thee warning, and that 
thou wast not condemned for want of a call to turn and 
live, but because thou wouldst not believe it, and obey it 
which also must be the testimony of thy serious monitor 



December 11, 1657. 



RICHARD BAXTER 



A CALL 

TO 

THE UNCONVERTED. 



Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleas- 
ure in the death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn 
from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye from your evL 
ways ; for why will ye die, O house of Israel 1 Ezekiel 
33:11. 

It hath been the astonishing wonder of many a 
man as well as me, to read in the Holy Scripture 
how few will be saved, and that the greatest part 
even of those that are called, will be everlastingly 
shut out of the kingdom of heaven, and be tormented 
with the devils in eternal fire. Infidels believe not 
this when they read it, and therefore they must feel 
it : those that do believe it are forced to cry out with 
Paul, " 0 the depth of the riches both of the wis- 
dom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable 
are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !" 
Bom. 11 : 33. But nature itself doth teach us all 
to lay the blame of evil works upon the doers ; and 
therefore when we see any heinous thing done, a 
principle of justice doth provoke us to inquire after 



22 



A CALL TO 



him that did it, that the evil of the work may return 
the evil of shame upon the author. If we saw a 
man killed and cut in pieces by the way, we should 
presently ask, Oh ! who did this cruel deed ? If the 
town was wilfully set on fire, you would ask, What 
wicked wretch did this? So when we read that 
many souls will be miserable in hell for ever, we 
must needs think with ourselves, How comes this to 
pass ? and whose fault is it ? Who is it that is so 
cruel as to be the cause of such a thing as this ? and 
we can meet with few that will own the guilt. It is 
indeed confessed by all, that Satan is the cause ; but 
that doth not resolve the doubt, because he is not the 
principal cause. He doth not force men to sin, but 
tempts them to it, and leaves it to their own wills 
whether they will do it or not. He doth not carry 
men to an alehouse and force open their mouths and 
pour in the drink ; nor doth he hold them that they 
cannot go to God's service ; nor doth he force their 
hearts from holy thoughts. It lieth therefore be- 
tween God himself, and the sinner; one of them 
must needs be the principal cause of all this misery, 
whichever it is, for there is no other to lay it upon ; 
and God disclaimeth it, he will not take it upon him ; 
and the wicked disclaim it usually, and they will not 
take it upon them, and this is the controversy that 
is here managing in my text. 

The Lord complaineth of the people ; and the 
people think it is the fault of God. The same con- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



23 



troversy is handled, chap. 18 : 25 ; they plainly say, 
"that the way of the Lord is not equal." So here 
they say, verse 19, "If our transgressions and our 
sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how 
shall we then live?" As if they should say, If we 
must die and be miserable, how can we help it ? as 
if it were not their fault, but God's. But God, in 
my text, doth clear himself of it, and telleth them 
how they may help it if they will, and persuadeth 
them to use the means, and if they will not be per- 
suaded, he lets them know that it is the fault of 
themselves ; and if this will not satisfy them, he will 
not forbear to punish them. It is he that will be 
the Judge, and he will judge them according to their 

O 7 JO o 

ways ; they are no judges of him or of themselves, 
they want authority, and wisdom, and impartiality ; 
nor is it their cavilling and quarrelling with God that 
shall serve then turn, or save them from the execu- 
tion of that justice at which they murmur. 

The words of this verse contain, 1. God's clearing 
himself from the blame of their destruction. This 
he doth not by disowning his law that the wicked 
shall die, nor by disowning his judgment and execu- 
tion according to that law, or giving them any hope 
that the law shall not be executed ; but by profess- 
ing that it is not their death that he takes pleasure in, 
but their returning rather, that they may live ; and 
this he confirmeth to them by his oath. 2. An ex- 
press exhortation to the wicked to return ; wherein 



A CALL TO 



God dotli not only command, but persuade and con- 
descend also to reason the case with. them. Why 
■will they die ? The direct end of this exhortation 
is, that they may turn and live. The secondaiy or 
reserved ends, upon the supposition that this is not 
attained, are these two : 1. To convince them by the 
means which he used, that it is not the fault of God 
if they are miserable. 2. To convince them, from 
their manifest wilfulness in rejecting all his com- 
mands and persuasions, that it is the fault of them- 
selves, and that they die, even because they will die. 

The substance of the text doth he in these ob- 
servations following : 

Doctrine 1. It is the unchangeable law of God, 
that wicked men must turn or die. 

Doctrixe 2. It is the promise of God, that the 
wicked shall live, if they will but turn. 

Doctrixe 3. God takes pleasure in men's conver- 
sion and salvation, but not in then death or damna- 
tion : he had rather they would return and live, than 
go on and die. 

Doctrixe 4. This is a most certain truth, which, 
because God would not have men to question, he 
hath confirmed it to them solemnly by his oath. 

Doctrixe 5. The Lord doth redouble his com- 
mands and persuasions to the wicked to turn. 

Doctrixe 6. The Lord condescendeth to reason 
the case with them; and asketh the wicked why 
they will die ? 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



25 



Doctrine 7. If after all this the wicked will not 
turn, it is not the fault of God that they perish, but of 
themselves ; their own wilfulness is the cause of their 
damnation ; they therefore die because they will die. 

Having laid open the text in these propositions, I 
shall next speak somewhat of each of them in order, 
though briefly. 



DOCTRINE I. 

It is the unchangeable Law of God, that wicked men must 
turn or die. 

If you will believe God, believe this : there is 
but one of these two ways for every wicked man, 
either conversion or damnation. I know the wicked 
will hardly be persuaded either of the truth or equity 
of this. No wonder if the guilty quarrel with the 
law. Few men are apt to believe that which they 
would not have to be true, and fewer would have 
that to be true which they apprehend to be against 
them. But it is not quarrelling with the law, or 
with the judge, that will save the malefactor. Be- 
lieving and regarding the law might have prevented 
his death; but denying and accusing it will but 
hasten it. If it were not so, a hundred would bring 
their reason against the law, for one that would bring 
his reason to the law, and men would rather choose 
to give their reasons why they should not be pun- 



A CALL TO 



ished, than to hear the commands and reasons of 
their governors which require them to obey. The 
law was not made for you to judge, but that you 
might be ruled and judged by it. 

But if there be any so blind as to venture to ques- 
tion either the truth or the justice of this law of God, 
I shall briefly give you that evidence of both which 
methinks should satisfy a reasonable man. And, 

L If you doubt whether this be the word of God 
or not, besides a hundred other texts, you may be 
satisfied by these few : Matt. 18 : 3. " Verily, I say 
unto you, except ye be converted, and become as 
little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom 
of heaven." John 3:3. "Verily, verily, I say 
imto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." 2 Cor. 5:17. "If any 
man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away ; behold, all things are become 
new." Col. 3 : 9, 10. "Ye have put off the old 
man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, 
which is renewed in knowledge after the image of 
him that created him." Heb. 12:14. "Without 
holiness no man shall see the Lord." Rom. 8 : 8, 9. 
" So then they that are in the flesh cannot please 
God. JSow, if any man have not the spirit of Christ, 
he is none of his." Gal. 6:15. "For in Christ 
Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor 
uncircumcision, but a new creature." 1 Pet. 1 : 3. 
" According to his abundant mercy, he hath begotten 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



us to a lively hope." Ver. 23. " Being born again, 
not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the 
word of God, which liveth and abide th for ever." 
1 Pet. 2:1,2. " Wherefore, laying aside all malice, 
and all guile, and hypocrisies and envies, and all 
evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere 
milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." Psa. 
9 : 17. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and 
all the nations that forget God." Psa, 11:5. " And 
the Lord trieth the righteous, but the wicked his soul 
hateth." 

As I need not stay to open these texts which are 
so plain, so I think I need not add any more of that 
multitude which speak the like. If thou be a man 
that dost believe the word of God, here is already 
enough to satisfy thee that the wicked must be con- 
verted or condemned. You are already brought so 
far that you must either confess that this is true, or 
say plainly, you will not believe the word of God. 
And if once you come to that pass there is but 
small hope of you : look to yourself as well as you 
can, for it is likely you will not be long out of hell. 
You would be ready to fly in the face of him, that 
should give you the he ; and yet dare you give the 
lie to God ? But if you tell God plainly you will 
not believe him, blame him not if he never warn you 
more, or if he forsake you, and give you up as hope- 
less ; for to what purpose should he warn you, if you 
will not believe him ? Should he send an angel from 



A CALL TO 



heaven to you, it seems you would not believe. For 
an angel can speak but the word of God ; and if an 
angel should bring you any other gospel, you are 
not to receive it, but to hold him accursed. Gal. 1:8. 
And surelv, there is no ano;el to be belieyed before 
the Son of God, who came from the Father to bring 
us this doctrine. If he be not to be believed, then 
all the angels in heaven are not to be believed. And 
if you stand on these terms with God, I shall leave 
you till he deal with you hi a more convincing way. 
God hath a voice that will make you hear. Though 
he entreat you to hear the voice of his Gospel, he 
•will make you hear the voice of his condemning sen- 
tence, without entreaty. We cannot make you be- 
lieve against your wills ; but God will make you feel 
against your wills. 

But let us hear what reason you have why you 
will not believe this word of God, which tells us 
that the wicked must be converted, or condemned. 
I know your reason ; it is because you judge it un- 
likely that God should be so unmerciful : you think 
it cruelty to damn men everlastingly for so small a 
thing as a sinful life. And this leads us, 

II. To justify the equity of God in his laws and 
judgments. 

1. I think you will not deny that it is most suit- 
able to an immortal soul to be ruled by laws that 
promise an immortal reward, and threaten an end 



THE UN CONVERTED. 



29 



less punishment. Otherwise the law would not be 
suited to the nature of the subject, who will not be 
fully ruled by any lower means than the hopes or 
fears of everlasting things : as it is in eases of tem- 
poral punishment, if a law were now made that the 
most heinous crimes should be punished with a hun- 
dred years' captivity, this might be of some efficacy, 
as being equal to our lives. But, if there had been 
no other penalties before the flood, when men lived 
eight or nine hundred years, it would not have been 
sufficient, because men would know that they might 
have so many hundred years' impunity afterwards. 
So it is in our present case. 

2. I suppose that you will confess that the prom- 
ise of an endless and inconceivable glory is not un- 
suitable to the wisdom of God or the case of man ; 
and why then should you not think so of the threat- 
ening of an endless and unspeakable misery ? 

3. When you find it in the word of God that so 
it is, and so it will be, do you think yourselves fit to 
contradict this word ? Will you call your Maker to 
the bar, and examine his word upon the accusation 
of falsehood ? Will you sit upon him and judge him 
by the law of your conceits ? Are you wiser, and 
better, and more righteous than he ? Must the God 
of heaven come to school to you to learn wisdom ? 
Must Infinite Wisdom learn of folly, and Infinite 
Goodness be corrected by a sinner that cannot keep 
himself an hour clean ? Must the Almighty stand 



A C A L L TO 



at the bar of a worm ? 0 horrid arroo*ancv of sense- 
less dust ! Shall a mole, or clod, or dunghill, accuse 
the sun of darkness, and undertake to illuminate the 
world ? Where were you when the Almighty made 
the laws, that he did not call you to his counsel ? 
Surely, he made them before you were born, without 
desiring your advice ; and you came into the world 
too late to reverse them, if you could have done so 
great a work. You should have stepped out of your 
nothingness and have contradicted Christ when he 
was on earth, or Moses before him, or have saved 
Adam and his sinful progeny from the threatened 
death, that so there might have been no need of 
Christ. And what if God withdraw his patience 
and sustaining power, and let you drop into hell 
while you are quarrelling with his word, will you 
then believe that there is a hell ? 

4. If sin be such an evil that it requireth the death 
of Christ for its expiation, no wonder if it deserve 
our everlasting misery. 

5. And if the sin of devils deserve an endless tor- 
ment, why not also the sin of man ? 

6. And methinks you should perceive that it if 
not possible for the best of men, much less for the 
wicked, to be competent judges of the desert of sin. 
Alas ! we are both blind and partial. You can never 
know fully the desert of sin, till you fully know the 
evil of sin ; and you can never fully know the evil 
of sin, till you fully know, 1. The excellency of the 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



31 



soul which it deformeth. 2. The excellency of ho- 
liness which it obliterates. 3. The reason and ex- 
cellency of the law which it violates. 4. The ex- 
cellency of the glory which it despises. 5. The 
excellency and office of reason which it treadeth 
down. 6. No, nor till you know the infinite excel- 
lency, almightiness, and holiness of that God against 
whom it is committed. When you fully know all 
these, you shall fully know the desert of sin. Be- 
sides, you know that the offender is too partial to 
judge the law or the proceedings of his judge. We 
judge by feeling, which blinds our reason. We see, 
in common worldly things, that most men think the 
cause is right which is their own, and that all is 
wrong that is done against them ; and let the most 
wise, or just, or impartial friends persuade them to 
the contrary, and it is all in vain. There are few 
children but think the father is unmerciful, or deal- 
eth hardly with them, if he whip them. There is 
scarce the vilest wretch but thinketh the church doth 
wrong him if they excommunicate him ; or scarce a 
thief or murderer that is hanged, but would accuse 
the law and judge of cruelty, if that would serve 
their turn. 

7. Can you think that unholy souls are fit fo? 
heaven ? Alas, they cannot love God here, nor do 
him any service which he can accept. They are 
contrary to God, they loathe that which he most 
loveth, and love that which he abhorreth. They are 



32 



A CALL TO 



incapable of that .imperfect communion with him 
which his saints here partake of. How then can 
they live in that perfect love of him, and full delight 
and communion with him, which is the blessedness 
of heaven ? You do not accuse yourselves of un- 
mercifulness if you make not your enemy your bosom 
counsellor ; or if you take not your swine to bed and 
board with you ; no, nor if you take away his life, 
though he never sinned ; and yet you will blame the 
absolute Lord, the most wise and gracious Sovereign 
of the world, if he condemn the unconverted to per- 
petual misery. 

I beseech you now, all that love your souls, that, 
instead of quarrelling with God and with Ins word, 
you will presently receive it, and use it for your 
good. All you that are yet unconverted, take this 
as the undoubted truth of God : You must, ere long, 

7 O 7 

be converted or condemned ; there is no other way 
but to turn, or die. "When God, that cannot lie, 
hath told you this ; when you hear it from the Maker 
and Judge of the world, it is time for him that hath 
ears to hear. By this time you may see what you 
have to trust to. You are but dead and damned 
men, except you will be converted. Should I tell 
you otherwise, I should deceive }~ou with a lie. 
Should I hide this from you, I should undo you, and 
be guilty of your blood, as the verses before my text 
assure me. Verse 8 : " When I say to the wicked 
man, 0 wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; if thou 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, 
that wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but his 
blood will I require at thine hand." You see, then, 
though this be a rough and unwelcome doctrine, it 
is such as we must preach, and you must hear. It 
is easier to hear of hell than to feel it. If your ne- 
cessities did not require it, we would not gall your 
tender ears with truths that seem so harsh and griev- 
ous. Hell would not be so full, if people were but 
willing to know their case, and to hear and think 
of it. The reason why so few escape it, is 'because 
they strive not to enter in at the strait gate of con- 
version, and go the narrow way of holiness while 
they have time ; and they strive not, because they 
are not awakened to a lively feeling of the danger 
they are in ; and they are not awakened, because 
they are loth to hear or think of it ; and that is 
partly through foolish tenderness and carnal self- 
love, and partly because they do not well believe the 
word that threateneth it. If you will not thoroughly 
believe this truth, methinks the weight of it should 
force you to remember it, and it should follow you, 
and give you no rest till you are converted. If you 
had but once heard this word by the voice of an 
angel, " Thou must be converted or condemned : 
turn, or die ;" would it not sink into your mind, and 
haunt you night and day ? so that in your sinning 
you would remember it, as if the voice were still in 
your ears, "Turn, or die I" 0 happy were your 

B. CaU. 3 



A CALL TO 



soul if it might thus work with you, and never be 
forgotten or let you alone till it have driven home 
your heart to God. But if you will cast it out by 
forgetfulness or unbelief, how can it work to your 
conversion and salvation ? But take this with you 
to your sorrow, though you may put this out of your 
mind you cannot put it out of the Bible, but there 
it will stand as a sealed truth, which you shall ex- 
perimentally know for ever, that there is no other 
way but "turn, or die." 

O what is the matter, then, that the hearts of sin- 
ners are not pierced with such a weighty truth ? A 
man would think now, that every unconverted soul 
that hears these words should be pricked to the 
heart, and think with himself, " This is my own 
case," and never be quiet till he found himself con- 
verted. Believe it, this drowsy, careless temper will 
not last long. Conversion and condemnation are 
both of them awakening things, and one of them will 
make you feel ere long. I can foretell it as truly as 
if I saw it with my eyes, that either grace or hell 
will shortly bring these matters to the point, and 
make you say, "■ What have I done ? what a foolish 
wicked course have I taken?" The scornful and 
the stupid state of sinners will last but a little while : 
as soon as they either turn or die, the presumptuous 
dream will be at an end, and then their senses and 
feeling will return. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



But I foresee there are two things that are likely 
to harden the unconverted and make me lose all my 
labor, unless they can be taken out of the way ; 
namely, the misunderstanding of those two words, 
the wicked and turn. Some will think with them- 
selves, " It is true, the wicked must turn or die ; 
but what is that to me, I am not wicked, though I 
am a sinner as all men are." Others will think, "It 
is true that we must turn from our evil ways, but 
I am turned long ago ; I hope this is not now to 
do." And thus while wicked men think they are 
not wicked, but are already converted, we lose all 
our labor in persuading them to turn. I shall there- 
fore, before I go any further, tell you here who are 
meant by the wicked, or who they are that must turn 
or die ; and also what is meant by turning, or who 
they are that are truly converted. And this I have 
purposely reserved for this place, preferring the 
method that fits my end. And 

I. Here you may observe, that in the sense of the 
text a wicked max and a converted man are con- 
traries : no man is a wicked man that is converted ; 
and no man is a converted man that is wicked ; so 
that to be a wicked man and to be an unconverted 
man is all one ; and therefore in dealing with one we 
shall deal with both. 

Before I can tell you what either wickedness or 
conversion is, I must go to the bottom and take up 
the matter from the beginning. 



86 



A CALL TO 



It pleased the great Creator of the world to make 
three sorts of living creatures. Angels he made pure 
spirits without flesh, and therefore he made them 
only for heaven, and not to dvrell on earth. Brutes 
were made flesh -without immortal souls, and there- 
fore they were made only for earth, and not for 
heaven. Man is of a middle nature, between both, 
as partaking of both flesh and spirit, and therefore 
he was made both for heaven and earth. But as 
his flesh is made to be but a servant to his spirit, so 
is he made for earth but as his passage or way to 
heaven, and not that this should be his home or 
happiness. The blessed state that man was made 
for, was to behold the glorious majesty of the Lord, 
and to praise him among his holy angels, and to 
love him, and to be filled with his love for ever. 
And as this was the end that man was made for, so 
God gave him means that were fitted to the attain- 
ing of it. 

These means were principally two : 1 . The- right 
inclination and disposition of the mind of man. 2. 
The right ordering of his life and practice. For the 
first, God suited the disposition of man unto his end, 
giving him such knowledge of God as was fit for his 
present state, and a heart disposed and inclined to 
God in holy love. But yet he did not fix or confirm 
him in this condition, but, having made him a free 
agent, he left him to the exercise of his own free 
will. For the second, God did that which belonged 



THE L X CON VERTED. 



3? 



to him ; that is, he gave him a perfect law, requiring 
him to continue in the love of God and perfectly to 
obey him. 

By the wilful breach of this law, man not only 
forfeited his hopes of everlasting life, but also turned 
his heart from God and fixed it on these lower fleshly 
things, and thereby blotted out the spiritual image 
of God from his soul ; so that man both fell short 
of the glory of God, which was his end, and put 
himself out of the way by which he should have 
attained it, and this both as to the frame of his heart 
and of his life. The holy inclination and love of his 
soul to God he lost, and instead of it he contracted 
an inclination and love to the pleasing of his flesh, 
or carnal self, by earthly things ; growing strange 
to God and acquainted with the creature. And the 
course of his life was suited to the bent and incli- 
nation of his heart ; he lived to his carnal self, and 
not to God ; he sought the creature for the pleasing 
of his flesh, instead of seeking to please the Lord. 
With this nature or corrupt inclination we are all 
now born into the world ; " for who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean?" Job 14 : 4. As a 
lion hath a fierce and cruel nature before he doth 
devour ; and an adder hath a venomous nature be- 
fore she stings : so in our infancv we have those sin- 
ful natures or inclinations before we think, or speak, 
or do amiss. And hence springeth all the sin of 
our lives ; and not only so, but when God hath of 



A CALL TO 



his mercy provided us a remedy, even the Lord Je- 
sus Christ, to be the Saviour of our souls and bring 
us back to God again, we naturally love our present 
state, and are loth to be brought out of it, and there- 
fore are set against the means of our recovery : and 
though custom hath taught us to thank Christ for 
his good-will, yet carnal self persuades us to refuse 
his remedies, and to desire to be excused when we 
are commanded to take the medicines which he of- 
fers, and are called to forsake all and follow him to 
God and glory. 

I pray you read over this leaf again, and mark it , 
for in these few words you have a true description 
of our natural state, and consequently of a wicked 
man ; for every man that is in the state of corrupt 
nature is a wicked man, and in a state of death. 

II. By this you are prepared to understand what 
it is to be converted: to which end you must 
further know, that the mercy of God, not willing 
that man should perish in his sins, provided a rem- 
edy, by causing his Son to take our nature, and be- 
ing in one person God and man, to become a me- 
diator between God and man ; and by dying for our 
sins on the cross, to ransom us from the curse of 
God and the power of the devil. And having thus 
redeemed us, the Father hath delivered us into his 
hands as his own. Hereupon the Father and the 
Mediator do make a new law and covenant for man, 
not like the first, which gave life to none but the 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



perfectly obedient, and condemned man' for eveiy 
sin; but Christ bath made a hm of grace, or a 
promise of pardon and everlasting life to all that, by 
true repentance, and by faith in Christ, are converted 
unto God : like an act of oblivion -which is made by 
a prince to a company of rebels, on condition that 
they will lay down their arms and come in and be 
loyal subjects for the time to come. 

But, because the Lord knoweth that the heart of 
man is grown so wicked, that, for all this, men will 
not accept of the remedy if they are left to them- 
selves, therefore the Holy Ghost hath undertaken it 
as his office to inspire the apostles, and seal the 
Scriptures by miracles and wonders, and to illumi- 
nate and convert the souls of the elect. 

So by this much you see, that as there are three 
persons in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost, so each of these persons have their 
several works, which are eminently ascribed to them. 

The Father's works were, to create us, to rule us, 
as his rational creatures, by the law of nature, and 
judge us thereby; and in mercy to provide us a 
Redeemer when we were lost ; and to send his Son, 
and accept his ransom. 

The works of the Son for us were these : to ran- 
som and redeem us by his sufferings and righteous- 
ness ; to give out the promise or law of grace, and 
rule and judge the world as the Redeemer, on terms 
of grace ; to make intercession for us, that the ben- 



40 



A CALL TO 



efits of his death may be communicated ; and to 
send the Holy Ghost, which the Father also doth by 
the Son. 

The works of the Holy Ghost for us are these : to 
indite the Holy Scriptures by inspiring and guiding 
the prophets and apostles, and sealing the word by 
his miraculous gifts and works ; and illuminating and 
exciting the ordinary ministers of the Gospel, and so 
enabling them and helping them to publish that word ; 
and by the same word illuminating and converting 
the souls of men. So that as you could not have 
been reasonable creatures if the Father had not cre- 
ated you, nor have had any access to God if the Son 
had not redeemed you, so neither can you have a 
part in Christ or be saved except the Holy Ghost do 
sanctify you. 

So that by this time you may see , the several 
causes of this work. The Father sendeth the Son ; 
the Son redeemeth us and maketh the promise of 
grace ; the Holy Ghost inditeth and sealeth this 
Gospel ; the apostles are the secretaries of the Spirit 
to write it ; the preachers of the Gospel to proclaim 
it, and persuade men to obey it; and the Holy 
Ghost doth make their preaching effectual, by open- 
ing the hearts of men to entertain it. And all this 
to repair the image of God upon the soul, and to 
set the heart upon God again, and take it off from 
the creature and carnal self to which it is revolted, 
and so to turn the current of the life into a heavenly 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



41 



course, which, before was earthly ; and this through 
embracing Christ by faith, who is the Physician of 
the soul. 

By what I have said you may see what it is to be 
wicked, and what it is to be converted ; which, I 
think, will be yet plainer to you, if I describe them 
as consisting of their several parts. A wicked man 
may be known by these three things : 

1. He is one who placeth his chief affections on 
earth, and loveth the creature more than God, and 
his fleshly prosperity above the heavenly felicity. 
He savoreth the things of the flesh, but neither dis- 
cerneth nor savoreth the things of the Spirit ; though 
he will say that heaven is better than earth, yet he 
doth not really so esteem it to himself. If he might 
be sure of earth, he would let go heaven, and had 
rather stay here than be removed thither. A life 
of perfect holiness in the sight of God, dwelling in 
his love and praising him for ever in heaven, is not 
so pleasing to his heart as a life of health, and wealth, 
and honor here upon earth. And though he falsely 
profess that he loves God above all, yet indeed he 
never felt the power of divine love within him, but 
his mind is more set on the world or fleshly pleasures 
than on God. In a word, whoever loves earth above 
heaven, and fleshly prosperity more than God, is a 
wicked unconverted man. 

On the other hand, a converted man is illuminated 



A CALL TO 



to discern the loveliness of God, and so far believeth 
the glory that is to be had with God, that his heart 
is taken up with it and set more upon it than on any 
thing in this world. He had rather see the face of 
God, and live in his everlasting love and praise?, 
than have all the wealth or pleasures of the world. 
He seeth that all things else are vanity, and nothing 
but God can fill the soul ; and therefore, let the world 
go which way it will, he layeth up his treasures and 
hopes in heaven, and for that he is resolved to let go 
all. As the fire doth mount upward, and the nee- 
dle that is touched with the loadstone still turns to 
the north, so the converted soul is inclined unto God. 
Nothing else can satisfy him : nor can he find any 
content and rest but in his love. In a word, all that 
are converted do esteem and love God better than 
all the world, and the heavenly felicity is dearer to 
them than their fleshly prosperity. The proof of 
what I have said you may find in these places of 
Scripture : Phil. 3 : 8-10 : Matt. 6:19-21; Colos. 
3 : 1-4 ; Rom. 8 : 5-9, 18, 23 ; Psalms 73 : 25, 26. 

2. A wicked man is one that makes it the princi- 
pal business of his life to prosper in the world and 
attain his fleshly ends. And though he may read, 
and hear, and do much in the outward duties of re- 
ligion, and forbear disgraceful sins, yet this is all but 
by the by, and he never makes it the principal busi- 
ness of his life to please God and attain everlasting 
glory, but puts off God with the leavings of the 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



43 



world, and gives him no more service than the flesh 
can spare, for he will not part with all for heaven. 

On the contrary, a converted man is one that 
makes it the principal care and business of his life 
to please God and to be saved, and takes ail the 
blessings of this life but as accommodations in his 
journey towards another life, and useth the creature 
in subordination to God : he loves a holy life, and 
longs to be more holy ; he hath no sin but what he 
hateth, and longeth, and prayeth, and striveth to be 
rid of. The drift and bent of his life is for God, and 
if he sin, it is contraiy to the very bent of his heart 
and life ; and therefore he riseth again and lamenteth 
it, and dares not wilfully live in any known sin. 
There is nothing in this world so dear to him but he 
can give it up to God, and forsake it "for him and 
the hopes of glory. All this you may see in Col. 
3:1-5; Matt. 6: 20, 33; Luke 18:22, 23, 29; 
and 14 : 18, 24, 26, 27 ; Rom. 8:13; Gal. 5 : 24 ; 
Luke 12 : 21, etc. 

3. The soul of a wicked man did never truly dis- 
cern and relish the mystery of redemption, nor 
thankfully entertain an offered Saviour, nor is he 
taken up with the love of the Redeemer, nor willing 
to be ruled by him as the Physician of his soul, that 
he may be saved from the guilt and power of his 
sins, and recovered to God ; but his heart is insensi- 
ble of this unspeakable benefit, and is quite against 
the healing means by which he should be recovered. 



44 



A CALL TO 



Though he may be w illing to be outwardly religious, 
vet he never resigned up his soul to Christ and to 
the motions and conduct of his word and Spirit. 

On the contrary, the converted soul having felt 
himself undone by sin, and perceiving that he hath 
lost his peace with God and hopes of heaven, and is 
in danger of everlasting misery, doth thankfully en- 
tertain the tidings of redemption, and believing in 
the Lord Jesus as his only Saviour, resigns himself 
up to him for wisdom, righteousness, sanctiflcation, 
and redemption. He takes Christ as the life of his 
soul, and lives by him, and uses him as a salve for 
every sore, admiring the wisdom and love of God in 
his wonderful work of man's redemption. In a 
word, Christ doth even dwell in his heart by faith, 
and the life that he now liveth, is by the faith of the 
Son of God, that loved him, and gave himself for 
him ; yea, it is not so much he that liveth, as Christ 
in him. For these, see John 1 : 11, 12 ; and 3:19, 
20 ; Rom. 8:9; Phil. 3 : 7-10 ; Gal. 2 : 20 ; John 
15 : 2-4; 1 Cor. 1 : 20; 2:2. 

You see now, in plain terms from the word of 
God, who are the wicked and who are the converted. 
Ignorant people think that if a man be no swearer, 
nor curser, nor railer, nor drunkard, nor fornicator, 
nor extortioner, nor wrong any body in his dealings, 
and if he come to church and say his prayers, he 
cannot be a wicked man. Or if a man that hath 
been guilty of drunkenness, swearing, or gaming, oi 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



45 



the like vices, do but forbear them for the time to 
come, they think that this is a converted man. Others 
think if a man that hath been an enemy, and scorner 
at godliness, do but approve it, and join himself to 
those that are godly, and be hated for it by the 
wicked, as the godly are, that this must needs be a 
converted man. And some are so foolish as to think 
that they are converted by taking up some new and 
false opinion, and falling into some dividing party. 
And some think, if they have but been affrighted by 
the fears of hell, and had convictions of conscience, 
and thereupon have purposed and promised amend- 
ment, and taken up a life of civil behavior and out- 
ward religion, that this must needs be true conver- 
sion. And these are the poor deluded souls that 
are like to lose the benefit of all our persuasions ; 
and when they hear that the wicked must turn or 
die, they think that this is not spoken to them, for 
they are not wicked, but are turned already. And 
therefore it is that Christ told some of the rulers of 
the Jews who were more grave and civil than the 
common people, that "publicans and harlots go into 
the kingdom of God before them." Matt. 21 : 31. 
Not that a harlot or gross sinner can be saved with- 
out conversion ; but because it was easier to make 
these gross sinners perceive their sin and misery, and 
the necessity of a change, than the more civil sort, 
who delude themselves by thinking that they are 
converted already, when they are not. 



46 



A CALL TO 



0 sirs, conversion is another kind of work than 
most are aware of. It is not a small matter to bring 
an earthly mind to heaven, and to show man the 
amiable excellence of God, till he be taken up in 
such love to liini as can never be quenched ; to break 
the heart for sin, and make him fly for refuge to 
Christ, and thankfully embrace him as the life of his 
soul ; to have the very drift and bent of the heart 
and life changed ; so that a man renounceth that 
which he took for his felicity, and placeth his felicity 
where he never did before, and lives not to the same 
end, and drives not on the same design in the world, 
as he formerly did. In a word, he that is in Christ 
is a " new creature : old things are passed away ; 
behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor. 5 : 17. 
He hath a new understanding, a new will and reso- 
lution, new sorrows, and desires, and love, and de- 
light ; new thoughts, new speeches, new company — 
if possible — and a new conversation. Sin, that be- 
fore was a jesting matter with him, is now so odious 
and terrible to him that he flies from it as from death. 
The world, that was so lovely in his eyes, doth now 
appear but as vanity and vexation : God, that was 
before neglected, is now the only happiness of his 
soul : before, he was forgotten, and every lust pre- 
ferred before him ; but now he is set next the heart, 
and all things must give place to him ; the heart is 
taken up in the attendance and observance of him, 
is grieved when he hides his face, and never thinks 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



47 



itself well without him. Christ himself, that was 
wont to be slightly thought of, is now his only hope 
and refuge, and he lives upon him as on his daily 
bread ; he cannot pray without him, nor rejoice with- 
out him, nor think, nor speak, nor live without him. 
Heaven itself, that before was looked upon but as a 
tolerable reserve, which he hoped might serve his 
turn better than hell when he could not stay any 
longer in the world, is now taken for his home, the 
place of his only hope and rest, where he shall see, 
and love, and praise that God who hath his heart 
already. Hell, that did seem before but as a bug- 
bear to frighten men from sin, doth now appear to 
be a real misery that is not to be ventured on nor 
jested with. The works of holiness, of which be- 
fore he was weary, and which he thought unneces- 
sary, are now both his recreation and his business. 
The Bible, which was before to him but almost as a 
common book, is now as the law of God ; as a letter 
written to him from heaven and subscribed with the 
name of the Eternal Majesty ; it is the rule of his 
thoughts, and words, and deeds ; the commands are 
binding, the threats are dreadful, and the promises 
of it speak life to his soul. The godly, that seemed 
to him but like other men, are now the most excel- 
lent and happy on earth. And the wicked, that 
were his play-fellows, are now his grief ; and he that 
could laugh at their sins is more ready now to weep 
for their sin and misery, and to say with those of 



48 



A CALL TO 



old, Psalm 16:3; 15:4; Phil. 3 : 18, " But to the 

saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in 
whom is all my delight." " In whose eyes a vile 
person is contemned; but he honoreth them that 
fear the Lord : he that sweareth to his own hurt, 
and changeth not." "For many walk, of whom I 
have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, 
that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. " 

In short, he hath a new end in his thoughts, and 
a new way in his endeavors, and therefore his heart 
and life are new. Before, his carnal self was his 
end, and his pleasure and worldly profit and credit 
were his way ; and now, God and everlasting glory 
are his end, and Christ, and the Spirit, and word, 
and ordinances ; holiness to God, and righteousness 
and mercy to men, these are his way. Before, self 
was the chief ruler, to which the matters of God 
and conscience must stoop and give place ; and now 
God, in Christ, by the Spirit, word, and ministry, is 
the chief ruler, to whom both self and all the matters 
of self must give place. So that this is not a change 
in one, or two, or twenty points, but in the whole 
soul, and in the very end and bent of the conversa- 
tion. A man may step out of one path into another, 
and yet have his face the same way, and be still go- 
ing towards the same place ; but it is another matter 
to turn quite back, and take his journey quite the 
contrary way, to a contrary place. So it is here : a 
man may turn from drunkenness, and forsake other 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



49 



gross disgraceful sins, and set upon some duties of 
religion, and yet be still going to the same end as 
before, loving his carnal self above all, and giving it 
still the government of his soul; but vrhen he is 
converted, this self is denied and taken down^ and 
God is set up, and his face is turned the contrary 
way ; and he that before was addicted to himself, 
and lived to himself, is now, by sanctincation, de- 
voted to God, and liveth unto God. Before, he 
asked himself what he should do with his time, his 
talents, and his estate, and for himself he used them ; 
but now he asketh God what he shall do with them, 
and useth them for him. Before, he would please 
God so far as might accord with the pleasure of his 
flesh and carnal self, but not to any great displeasure 
of them ; but now he will please God, let rlesh and 
self be never so much displeased. This is the great 
change that God will make upon all that shall be 
saved. 

You can say that the Holy Ghost is our sancti- 
fier ; but do you know what sanctincation is ? Why, 
this is what I have now opened to you ; and every 
man and woman in the world must have this, or be 
condemned to everlasting misery. They must turn 
or die. 

Do you believe all this, sirs, or do you not ? Surely, 
you dare not say you do not ; for it is past all doubt 
or denial. These are not controversies, where one 
'earned pious man is of one mind and another of 

B. Call. 4 



50 



A CALL TO 



another ; where one party saith this, and the other 
saith that. Every sect among us that deserve to be 
called Christians are all agreed in this that I have 
said ; and if yon will not believe the God of truth, 
and that in a case where every sect and party do 
believe him, you are utterly inexcusable. 

But if you do believe this, how comes it to pass 
that you live so quietly in an unconverted state ? Do 
you think that you are converted ? and can you find 
this wonderful change upon your souls ? Have you 
been thus bom again, and made new? Are not 
these strange matters to many of you, and such as 
you never felt within yourselves ? You cannot tell 
the day or week of your change, or the very sermon 
that converted you, yet do you find that the work is 
done, that such a change indeed there is, and that 
you have such hearts as are before described ? Alas ! 
the most follow their worldly business, and little 
trouble their minds with such thoughts. And if 
they be but restrained from scandalous sins, and can 
say, " I am no whoremonger, nor thief, nor curser. 
nor swearer, nor tippler, nor extortioner ; I go to 
church, and say my prayers they think that this is 
true conversion, and that they shall be saved as well 
as any. Alas ! this is foolish cheating of yourselves. 
This is too much contempt of an endless glory, and 
too gross neglect of your immortal souls. Can you 
make so light of heaven and hell ? 

Your body will shortly lie in the dust, and angels 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



51 



or devils will presently seize upon your souls ; and 
every man or woman of you all will shortly be among 
other company,, and in another case than now you 
are. You will dwell in these houses but a little 
longer ; you will work in your shops and fields but 
a little longer ; you will sit in these seats and dwell 
on this earth but a little longer ; you will see with 
these eyes, and hear with these ears, and speak with 
these tongues but a little longer, till the resurrec- 
tion-day ; and can you make shift to forget this ? 0 
what a place will you shortly be in of joy or tor- 
ment ! 0 what a sight will you shortly see in heaven 
or hell ! 0 what thoughts will shortly fill your 
hearts with unspeakable delight or horror ! What 
work will you be employed in ! to praise the Lord 
with saints and angels, or to cry out in fire unquench- 
able with devils ; and should all this be forgotten ? 
And all this will be endless, and sealed up by an 
unchangeable decree. Eternity, eternity will be the 
measure of your joys or sorrows : and can this be 
forgotten ? And all this is true, sirs, most certainly 
true. When you have gone up and down a little 
longer, and slept and awakened a few times more, 
vcu will be dead and gone, and find all true that now 
I tell you : and yet can you now so much forget it ? 
You shall then remember that you had this call, and 
that, this day, in this place, you were reminded of 
these things, and you will perceive them to be mat- 
ters a thousand times more important than either you 



A CALL TO 



or I could here conceive ; and yet shall they be now 
so much forgotten ? 

Beloved friends, if the Lord had not awakened me 
to believe and lay to heart these things myself, I 
should have remained in a dark and selfish state, and 
have perished for ever ; but if he have truly made 
me sensible of them, it will constrain me to compas- 
sionate you as well as myself. If your eyes were 
so far opened as to see hell, and you saw your neigh- 
bors that were unconverted dragged thither with 
hideous cries : though they were such as you ac- 
counted honest people on earth, and as feared no 
such danger themselves ; such a sight would make 
you go home and think of it, and think again, and 
make you warn all about you, as that lost worldling, 
Luke 16:28, would have had his brethren warned, 
lest they come to that place of torment. 

Faith is a kind of sight ; it is the eye of the soul, 
the evidence of things not seen. If I believe God, 
it is next to seeing; and therefore, I beseech you, 
excuse me if I be half as earnest with you about 
these matters as if I had seen them. If I must die 
to-morrow, and it were in my power to come again 
from another world and tell you what I had seen, 
would you not be willing to hear me ? and would 
you not believe and regard what I should tell you ? 
If I might preach one sermon to you after I am dead, 
and have seen what is done in the world to come, 
would you not have me plainly speak the truth, and 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



S3 



would you not crowd to hear me, and would you not 
lay it to heart ? But this must not be ; God hath 
his appointed way of teaching you by Scripture and 
ministers, and he will not humor unbelievers so far 
as to send men from the dead to them and alter his 
established way : if any man quarrel with the sun, 
God will not humor him so far as to set up a clearer 
light. Friends, I beseech you, regard me now as 
you would do if I should come from the dead to 
you; for I can give you as full assurance of the 
truth of what I say to you as if I had been there 
and seen it with my eyes : it is possible for one from 
the dead to deceive you ; but Jesus Christ can never 
deceive you ; the word of God delivered in Scrip- 
ture, and sealed by miracles and holy workings of 
the Spirit, can never deceive you. Believe this, or 
believe nothing. Believe and obey this, or you are 
undone. 

Now, as ever you believe the word of God, and 
as ever you care for the salvation of your souls, let 
me beg of you this reasonable request, and I be- 
seech you deny me not : That you would now re- 
member what has been said, and enter into an earnest 
search of your hearts, and say to yourselves, Is it 
so indeed ; must I turn or die ? Must I be converted 
or condemned ? It is time for me then to look about 
me before it be too late. O why did I not look af- 
ter this before now ? Why did I venturously put 
off or slumber over so great a business ? Was I 



A CALL TO 



awake, or in my senses ? 0 blessed God, what a 
mercy is it that thou didst not cut off my life all this 
while, before I had any certain hope of eternal life ! 

God forbid that I should neglect this work any 
longer. What state is my soul in ? Am I converted, 
or am I not ? Was ever such a change or work done 
upon my soul ? Have I been illuminated by the word 
and Spirit of the Lord to see the odiousness of sin, 
the need of a Saviour, the love of Christ, and the 
excellences of God and glory ? Is my heart broken 
or humbled within me for my former life ? Have I 
thankfully entertained my Saviour and Lord that 
offered himself with pardon and life for my soul ? 
Do I hate my former sinful life and the remnant of 
every sin that is in me ? Do I fly from them as my 
deadly enemies ? Do I give up myself to a life of 
holiness and obedience to God ? Do I love it and 
delight in it ? Can I truly say that I am dead to 
the world and carnal self, and that I live for God and 
the glory which he hath promised ? Hath heaven 
more of my esteem and affection than earth ? And 
is God the dearest and highest in my soul ? Once, 
I am sure, I lived principally to the world and flesh, 
and God had nothing but some heartless services, 
which the world could spare, and which were the 
leavings of the flesh. Is my heart now turned an- 
other way ? Have I a new design and a new end, 
and a new train of holy affections ? Have I set my 
hope and heart in heaven ? And is it the scope, and 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



55 



design, and bent of ray heart to get well to heaven, 
and see the glorious face of God, and live in his 
everlasting love and praise ? And when I sin, is it 
against the habitual bent and design of my heart ? 
And do I conquer all gross sins, and am I weary and 
willing to be rid of my infirmities ? This is the state 
of converted souls. And thus it must be "with me, 
or I must perish. Is it thus with me indeed, or is it 
not ? It is time to get this doubt resolved, before 
the dreadful Judge resolve it. I am not such a 
stranger to my own heart and life, but I may some- 
what perceive whether I am thus converted or not : 
if I be not, it will do me no good to natter my soul 
with false conceits and hopes. I am resolved no 
more to deceive myself, but endeavor to know truly 
whether I be converted or not : that if I be, I may 
rejoice in it, and glorify my gracious Lord, and com- 
fortably go on till I reach the crown : and if I am 
not, that I may set myself to beg and seek after the 
grace that should convert me, and may turn without 
any more delay. For, if I find in time that I am 
out of the way, by the help of Christ I may turn and 
be recovered ; but if I stay till either my heart be 
forsaken of God in blindness and hardness, or till I 
be snatched away by death, it is then too late. There 
is no place for repentance and conversion then : I 
know it must be now or never. 

Sirs, this is my request to you, that you will but 
take your hearts to task, and thus examine them till 



58 



A GALL TO 



Ton see, if it may be, whether you are converted or 
not. And if you cannot find it out by your own 
endeavors, go to your ministers, if they be faith- 
ful and experienced men, and desire their assistance. 
The matter is great ; let not bashfulness nor careless- 
ness hinder you. They are set over you to advise 
you for the saying of your souls, as physicians advise 
you for the curing of your bodies. It undoes many 
thousands that they think they are in the way to sal- 
vation when they are not ; and think that they are 
converted when it is no such thino*. And then when 

o 

we call to them daily to turn, they go away as they 
came, and think that this concerns not them ; for 
they are turned already, and hope they shall do well 
enough in the way that they are in, at least if they 
pick the fairest path, and avoid some of the foulest 
steps, when, alas ! all this while they live but to the 
world and flesh, and are strangers to God and eter- 
nal life, and are quite out of the way to heaven. 
And all this because we cannot persuade them to a 
few serious thoughts of their condition, and to spend 
a few hours in the examining of then* states. 

Are there not many self-deceivers who hear me 
this day, that never bestowed one hour, or quarter 
of an hour, in all their lives, to examine their souls, 
and try whether they are truly converted or not ? 
0 merciful God, that will care for such wretches 
that care no more for themselves, and that will do 
so much to save them from hell and help them to 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



57 



heaven, who will do so little for it themselves ! If 
all that are in the way to hell and in the state of 
damnation did but know it, they durst not continue 
in it. The greatest hope that the devil hath of 
bringing you to damnation without a rescue, is by 
keeping you blindfold and ignorant of your state, 
and making you believe that you may do well enough 
in the way that you are in. If you knew that you 
were out of the way to heaven, and were lost for 
ever if you should die as you are, durst you sleep 
another night in the state that you are in ? Durst 
you live another day in it ? Could you heartily 
laugh or be merry in such a state ? "What ! and not 
know but you may be snatched away to hell in an 
hour ? Sure it would constrain you to forsake your 
former company and courses, and to betake your- 
selves to the ways of holiness and the communion 
of the saints. Sure it would drive you to cry to 
God for a new heart, and to seek help of those that 
are fit to counsel you. There are none of you surely 
that care not for being damned. Well, then, I be- 
seech you, presently make inquiry into your hearts, 
and give them no rest till you find out your con- 
dition, that if it be good, you may rejoice in it, and 
go on; and if it be bad, you may presently look 
about you for recovery, as men that believe they 
must turn or die. What say you, sirs, villi you re- 
solve and promise to be at thus much labor for your 
own souls ? Will you now enter upon this self- ex- 



58 • A CALL TO 

animation ? Is my request unreasonable ? Your 
consciences know it is not. Kesolve on it, then, be- 
fore you stir ; knowing how much it concerneth your 
souls. I beseech you, for the sake of that God that 
doth command you, at whose bar you will all shortly 
appear, that you do not deny me this reasonable 
request. For the sake of those souls that must turn 
or die, I beseech you deny me not; but make it 
your business to understand your own condition and 
build upon sure ground, and know whether you are 
converted or not ; and venture not your souls on 
negligent security. 

But perhaps you will say, "What if we should 
find ourselves yet unconverted, what shall we do 
then ?" This question leads me to my second Doc- 
trine, which will do much to the answering of it, to 
which I now proceed. 



DOCTRINE II. 

Tt is the promise of God, that the wicked shall live, if they 
will but turn — unfeignedly and thoroughly turn. 

The Lord here professeth that this is what he 
takes pleasure in, that the wicked turn and live. 
Heaven is made as sure to the converted, as hell is 
to the unconverted. Turn and live, is as certain a 
truth as turn or die. God was not bound to pro- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



59 



vide us a Saviour, nor open to us a door of hope, 
nor call us to repent and turn, when once we had 
cast ourselves away by sin. But he hath freely done 
it to magnify his mercy. Sinners, there are none 
of you that shall have cause to go home and say I 
preach desperation to you. Do we use to shut the 
door of mercy against you ? 0 that you would not 
shut it against yourselves ! Do we use to tell you 
that God will have no mercy on you, though you 
turn and be sanctified ? When did you ever hear a 
preacher say such a word ? You that cavil at the 
preachers of the Gospel for desiring to keep you 
out of hell, and say that they preach desperation ; 
tell me, if you can, when did you ever hear any so- 
ber man say that there is no hope for you, though 
you repent and be converted ? No, it is the direct 
contrary that we daily proclaim from the Lord : that 
whoever is born again, and by faith and repentance 
doth become a new creature, shall certainly be saved ; 
and so far are we from persuading you to despair of 
this, that we persuade you not to make any doubt 
of it. It is life, not death, that is the first part of 
our message to vou : our commission is to offer sal- 
vation, certain salvation, a speedy, glorious, everlast- 
ing salvation to every one of you ; to the poorest 
beggar as well as the greatest lord ; to the worst of 
you, even to drunkards, swearers, worldlings, thieves, 
yea, to the despisers and reproachers of the holy 
way of salvation. 



m 



A C A L L TO 



We are commanded by our Lord and Master to 
offer you a pardon for all that is past, if toii will 
but now at last return and live ; we are commanded 
to beseech and entreat you to accept the offer, and 
return ; to tell you what preparation is made by 
Christ; what mercy stays for you; what patience 
waiteth on you; what thoughts of kindness God 
hath towards you ; and how happy, how certainly 
and unspeakably happy you may be if you will. 
We hare indeed also a message of wrath and death, 
yea, of a twofold wrath and death ; but neither of 
them is our principal message. We must tell you 
of the wrath that is on you already, and the death 
that you are born under, for the breach of the law 
of works ; but this is only to show you the need of 
mercy, and to provoke you to esteem the grace of 
the Redeemer. And we tell vou nothing but the 
truth, which you must know ; for who will seek for 
physic that knows not that he is sick ? Our telling 
you of your misery is not that which makes you 
miserable, but would drive you to seek for mercy. 
It is you that have brought this death upon your- 
selves. We tell you also of another death, even 
remediless, and much greater torment, that will fall 
on those who will not be converted. 

But as this is true, and must be told you, so it is 
but the last and saddest part of our message. We 
are first to offer you mercy, if you will turn ; and it 
is only those that will not turn, nor hear the voice 



THE UN CONVERTED. 



61 



of mercy, to whom we must foretell damnation. If 
you will but cast away your transgressions, if you 
will delay no longer, but come away at the call of 
Christ, and be converted, and become new creatures, 
we have not a word of damning wrath or death to 
speak against you. I do here, in the name of the 
Lord of life, proclaim to you all that hear me this 
day, to the worst of you, to the greatest, to the old- 
est sinner, that you may have mercy and salvation, 
if you will but turn. There is mercy in God, there 
is sufficiency in the satisfaction of Christ, the prom- 
ise is free, and full, and universal ; you may have 
life, if you will but turn. But then, as you love your 
souls, remember what turning it is that the Scripture 
speaks of. It is not to mend the old house, but to 
pull down all, and build anew on Christ, the Rock 
and sure foundation. It is not to mend somewhat 
in a carnal course of life, but to mortify the flesh and 
live after the Spirit. It is not to serve the flesh 
and the world in a more reformed way, without any 
scandalous disgraceful sins, and with a certain kind 
of religiousness ; but it is to change your master, 
and your works, and end ; and to set your face the 
contrary way, and do all for the life that you never 
saw, and dedicate yourselves and all you have to 
God. This is the change that must be made, if you 
will live. 

Yourselves are witnesses now, that it is salvation, 
and not damnation, that is the great doctrine I preach 



62 



A CALL TO 



to you, and the first part of my message to you. 
Accept of this, and we shall go no farther with you ; 
for we would not so much as affright or trouble you 
with the name of damnation without necessity. 

But if you will not be saved, there is no remedy, 
but damnation must take place ; for there is no mid- 
dle place between the two ; you must have either 
life or death. 

And we are not only to offer you life, but to show 
you the grounds on which we do it, and call you to 
believe that God doth mean, indeed, as he speaks ; 
that the promise is true, and extendeth conditionally 
to you, as well as others ; and that heaven is no 
fancy, but a true felicity. 

If you ask, Where is our commission for this offer ? 
Among a hundred texts of Scripture, I will show it 
to you in these few : 

You see it here in mv text and the following 
verses, and in the 18th of Ezekiel, as plain as can 
be spoken; and in 2 Cor. 5 : 17-21, you have the 
very sum of our commission : ^ If any man be in 
Christ, he is a new creature : old things are passed 
away ; behold, all things are become new. And all 
things are of God, who hath reconciled us to him- 
self by J esus Christ, and hath given to us the min- 
istry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God was in Christ, 
reconciling the world unto himself, not imputiag their 
trespasses to them ; and hath committed unto us the 
word of reconciliation. Xow, then, we are ambas^a- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



dors for Christ, as though. God did beseech you by 
us : we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled 
unto God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, 
who knew no sin ; that we might be made the right- 
eousness of God in him." So Mark 16:15, 16 : 
" Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel 
to every creature. He that believe th," that is, with 
such a converting faith as is expressed, " and is bap- 
tized, shall be saved ; and he that belie veth not, shall 
be damned." And Luke 24 : 46, 47 : " Thus it be- 
hooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the 
third day; and that repentance," which is conver- 
sion, " and remission of sins should be preached in 
his name among all nations." And Acts 5 : 30, 31 : 
" The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye 
slew and hanged on a tree : him hath God exalted 
with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, 
to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." 
And Acts 13 : 38, 39 : " Be it known unto you there- 
fore, men and brethren, that through this Man is 
preached unto you the forgiveness of sins ; and by 
him all that believe are justified from all things, from 
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." 
And lest you think this offer is restrained to the 
Jews, see Gal. 6:15: " For in Christ Jesus neither 
circumcision availeth any thing, nor roicircumcision, 
but a new creature." And Luke 14 : 17 : " Come, 
for all things are now ready." 

You see by this time that we are commanded to 



64 



A CALL TO 



offer life to you all, and to tell you from God, that 
if you will turn, you may lire. 

Here you may safely trust your souls ; for the 
love of God is the foundation of tins offer, John 
3:16, and the blood of the Son of God hath pur- 
chased it ; the faithfulness and truth of God is en- 
gaged to make the promise good ; miracles oft sealed 
the truth of it ; preachers are sent through the 
world to proclaim it ; and the Spirit doth open the 
heart to entertain it, and is itself the earnest of the 
full possession : so that the truth of it is past con- 
troversy, that the worst of you all, and every one 
of you, if you will but be converted, may be saved. 

Indeed, if you will believe that you shall be saved 
without conversion, then you believe a falsehood: 
and if I should preach that to you, I should preach 
a lie. This were not to believe God, but the devil 
and your own deceitful hearts. God hath his prom- 
ise of life, and the devil hath his promise of life. 
God's promise is, Turn and live. The devil's prom- 
ise is, you shall live whether you turn or not. The 
words of God are, as I have showed you, " Except 
ye be converted, and become as little children, ye 
cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 
18:3. " Except a man be bom again, he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:3, 5. 
" "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." 
Heb. 12:14. The devil's word is, "You may be 
saved without being born again and converted ; you 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



So 



may get to heaven well enough without being holy, 
God doih but frighten you ; he is more merciful 
than to do as he saith, he will be better to you than 
his word." And, alas, the greatest part of the world 
believe this word of the devil before the word of 
God ; just as our sin and misery first came into the 
world. God said to our first parents, "If ye eat, 
ye shall die and the devil contradicted him, and 
said, "Ye shall not die:" and the woman believed 
the devil before God. So now the Lord saith, Turn, 
or die : and the devil saith, You shall not die, if you 
do but cry for God's mercy at last, and give over 
the acts of sin when you can practise it no longer. 
And this is the word that the world believes. 0 
heinous wickedness, to believe the devil before God. 

And yet that is not the worst ; but blasphemously 
they call this believing and trusting in God, when 
they put him in the shape of Satan, who was a liar 
from the beginning ; and when they believe that the 
word of God is a he, they call this trusting God; 
and say they believe in him, and trust in liim for 
salvation. Where did ever God say that the unre- 
generate, unconverted, unsanctified, shall be saved ? 
Show me such a word in Scripture. I challenge 
you to do it. Why, this is the devil's word, and to 
believe it is to believe the devil, and is the sin that 
is commonly called presumption; and do you call 
this believing and trusting in God ? There is enough 
in the word of God to comfort and strengthen the 

B. Call. 5 



66 



A CALL TO 



hearts of the sanctified, but not a word to strengthen 

the hands of wickedness, nor to give men the least 
hope of being saved though they be never sanctified. 

But if you will turn, and come into the way of 
mercy, the mercy of the Lord is ready to entertain 
you. Then trust in God for salvation, boldlv and 
confidently ; for he is engaged by his word to save 
you. He will be a father to none but his children ; 
and he will save none but those that forsake the 
world, the devil, and the flesh, and come into his 
family to be members of his Son, and have commun- 
ion with his saints. But if they will not come in, 
it is the fault of themselves : his doors are open ; he 
keeps none back ; he never sent such a message as 
this to any of you: "It is now too late ; I will not 
receive thee, though thou be converted." He might 
have done so and done you no wrong ; but he did 
not ; he doth not to this day. He is still ready to 
receive you, if you were but ready unfeignedly, and 
with all your hearts, to turn. And the fulness of 
this truth will vet more appear in the two following 

if . X X O 

doctrines, to which I shall therefore next proceed 
before I make any further application of this. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



67 



DOCTRINE III. 

God taketh pleasure in men's conversion and salvation, but 
not in their death or damnation. He had rather they would 
turn and live, than go on and die. 

" The Lord is long- suffering to us-ward," says the 
apostle, "not willing that any should perish, but 
that all should come to repentance." 2 Pet. 3 : 9. 
He unf eigne dly willeth the conversion of all men, 
even of those that never will be converted, but not 
as absolute Lord with the fullest efficacious resolu- 
tion, nor as a thing which he resolveth shall un- 
doubtedly come to pass, or would engage all his 
power to accomplish. It is in the power of a prince 
to set a guard upon a murderer, to see that he shall 
not murder, and be hanged ; but if, upon good rea- 
son, he forbear this, and do but send to his subjects 
to warn and entreat them not to be murderers, he 
may well say that he would not have them murder 
and be hanged ; he takes no pleasure in it, but rather 
that they forbear and live, and if he do more for 
some upon some special reason, he is not bound to 
do so by all. The king may well say to all murder- 
ers and felons in the land, " I have no pleasure in 
your death, but rather that you would obey my laws 
and live ; but if you will not, I am resolved, for all 
this, that you shall die." The judge may truly say 
to the murderer, "Alas, I have no delight in thy 
death ; I had rather thou hadst kept the law and 



A CALL TO 



saved thy life ; but seeing thou hast not, I must con- 
demn thee, or else I should be unjust." 

So, though God have no pleasure in your damna- 
tion, and therefore calls upon you to return and live, 
yet he hath pleasure in the demonstration of his own 
justice and the execution of his laws ; and therefore 
he is, for all this, fully resolved, that if you will not 
be converted, you shall be condemned. If God was 
so much against the death of the wicked as that he 
were resolved to do all that he can to hinder it, then 
no man should be condemned ; whereas Christ tell- 
eth you, that " narrow is the way that leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it." But so far God 
is opposed to your damnation as that he will teach 
you, and warn you, and set before you life and death, 
and offer you your choice, and command his minis- 
ters to entreat you not to destroy yourselves, but 
accept his mercy, and so to leave you without ex- 
cuse. But if this will not do, and if still you be 
unconverted, he professeth to you that he is resolved 
on your damnation, and hath commanded us to say 
to you in his name, verse 8, " 0 wicked man, thou 
shalt surely die !" And Christ hath little less than 
sworn it, over and over, with a " verily, verily," that 
except you be converted and bom again, ye cannot 
enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:3; 
John 3 : 3. Mark that he saith, "you cannot." It 
is in vain to hope for it, and in vain to dream that 
God is willing for it ; for it is a thing that cannot be 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



69 



In a word, yon see the meaning of the text, that 
God, the great Lawgiver of the world, doth take no 
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that 
they turn and live ; though yet he be resolved that 
none shall live but those that turn ; and as a judge, 
ever delighteth in justice, and in manifesting his ha- 
tred of sin, though not in the misery which sinners 
have brought upon themselves, in itself considered. 

And for the proofs of this point, I shall be very 
brief in them, because I suppose you easily believe 
it already. 

1. The very gracious nature of God proclaimed, 
Exotl. 34:6, 7, "And the Lord passed by before 
him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, mer- 
ciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in 
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, 
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and 
that will by no means clear the guilty," and many 
other passages may assure you of this, that he hath 
no pleasure in your death. 

2. If God had more pleasure in thy death than 
in thy conversion and life, he would not have so fre- 
quently commanded thee in his word to turn; he 
would not have made thee such promises of life if 
thou wilt but turn; he would not have persuaded 
thee to it by so many reasons. The tenor of his 
Gospel proveth the point. 

3. And his commission that he hath given to the 
ministers of the Gospel doth fully prove it. If God 



7Cj 



A CALL TO 



had taken more pleasure in thy damnation than in 

thy conversion and salvation, he would never have 
charged us to offer vou niercv, and to teach vou the 
way of life, both publicly and privately ; and to en- 
treat and beseech you to turn and live ; to acquaint 
you with your sins and foretell you of your danger; 
and to do all that possibly we can for your con- 
version, and to continue patiently so doing, though 
you should hate or abuse us for our pains. Would 
God have done this, and appointed his ordinances 
for your good, if he had taken pleasure in your 
death ? 

4. It is proved also by the course of his provi- 
dence. If God had rather you were damned than 
converted and saved, he would not second his word 
with his works, and entice you, by his daily kindness, 
to himself, and give you all the mercies of this life, 
which are means "to lead you to repentance," Rom. 
2 : 4, and bring you so often under his rod, to bring 
you to your senses ; he would not set so many ex- 
amples before your eyes, no, nor wait on you so pa- 
tiently as he does from day to day and year to year. 
These are not signs of one that taketh pleasure in 
your death. If this had been his delight, how easily 
could he have had thee long ago in hell ! How of:, 
before this, could he have cut thee down in the midst 
of thy sins with a curse, or oath, or lie in thy mouth, 
in thy ignorance, and pride, and sensuality ! When 
thou wert last in thy drunkenness, or last deriding 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



the ways of God, how easily could he have stopped 
thy breath, and tamed thee with his plagues, and 
made thee sober in another world ! Alas ! how 
small a matter is it for the Almighty to silence the 
tongue of the profanest railer, and tie the hands of 
the most malicious persecutor, or calm the fury of 
the bitterest of his enemies, and make them know 
that they are but worms. 

If he should but frown upon thee thou wouldst 
drop into thy grave. If he gave commission to one 
of his angels to go and destroy ten thousand sinners, 
how quickly would it be done ! How easily can he 
lay thee upon the bed of languishing, and make thee 
lie groaning there in pain, and make thee eat the 
words of reproach which thou hast spoken against 
his servants, his word, his worship, and his holy ways, 
and make thee send to beg their prayers whom thou 
didst despise in thy presumption ! How easily can 
he lay that flesh under pains and groans, and make 
it too weak to hold thy soul, and make it more loath- 
some than the dung of the earth ! That flesh which 
now must have what it loves, and must not be dis- 
pleased though God be displeased ; and must be 
humored in meat, and drink, and clothes, whatever 
God say to the contrary, how quickly would the 
frowns of God consume it ! When thou wast pas- 
sionately defending thy sin, and quarrelling with them 
that would have drawn thee from it, and showing 
thy spleen against the reprover, and pleading for 



n 



A CALL TO 



the works of darkness ; how easily could God have 

snatched thee away in a moment, and set thee be- 
fore his dreadful Majesty, where thou shouldst see 
ten thousand times ten thousand glorious angels 
waiting on his throne, and have called thee there to 
plead thy cause, and asked thee "What hast thou 
now to say against thy Creator, his truth, his servants, 
or his holy ways ? Xow plead thy cause, and make 
the best of it thou canst. Xow what canst thou say 
in excuse of thy sins? Xow give account of thy 
worldliness and fleshly life, of thy time, of all the 
mercies thou hast had." 0 how thy stubborn heart 
would have melted, and thy proud looks be taken 
down, and thy countenance be appalled, and thy 
stout words turned into speechless silence, or dread- 
ful cries, if God had but set thee thus at his bar, and 
pleaded his own cause with thee, which thou hast 
here so maliciously pleaded against ! How easily 
can he at any time say to thy guilty soul, Come 
away, and live in that flesh no more till the resurrec- 
tion, and it cannot resist ! A word of his mouth 
would take off the poise of thy present life, and then 
all thy parts and powers would stand still ; and if 
he say unto thee, Live no longer, or, Live in hell, 
thou couldst not disobey. 

But God hath yet done none of this, but hath pa- 
tiently forborne thee, and mercifully upheld thee, and 
given thee that breath which thou didst breathe out 
against him, and given those mercies which thou didst 



THE U X CONVERTED . 



sacrifice to thy flesh, and afforded thee that provision 
which thou didst use to satisfy thy greedy throat : 
he gave thee every minute of that time which thou 
didst waste in idleness, or drunkenness, or worldli- 
ness ; and doth not all his patience and mercy show 
that he desired not thy damnation ? Can the candle 
burn without the oil ? Can your houses stand with- 
out the earth to bear them ? Xo more can you live 
an hour without the support of God. And why did 
he so long support thy life, but to see when thou 
wouldst bethink thee of the folly of thy ways, and 
return and live ? Will any man purposely put arms 
into his enemy's hands to resist him, or hold a can- 
dle to a murderer that is killing his children, or to an 
idle servant that plays or sleeps the while ? Surely 
it is to see whether thou wilt at last return and live, 
that God hath so long waited on thee. 

o. It is further proved by the sufferings of his 
Son, that God taketh no pleasure in the death of the 
wicked. "Would he have ransomed them from death 
at so dear a rate? Would he have astonished an- 
gels and men by his condescension ? Would God 
have dwelt in flesh, and have come in the form of a 
servant, and have assumed humanity into one per- 
son with the Godhead ; and would Christ have lived 
a life of suffering, and died a cursed death for sin- 
ners, if he had rather taken pleasure in their death ? 
Suppose you saw him but so busy in preaching and 
healing of them, as you find him in Mark 3 : 21 ; or 



n 



A CALL TO 



so long In fasting, as in Matt. 4 ; or all night in 
prayer, as in Luke 6:12; or praying with drops of 
blood trickling from him instead of sweat, as Luke 
22 : 24 ; or suffering a cursed death upon the cross, 
and pouring out his soul as a sacrifice for our sins — 
would you have thought these the signs of one that 
delighted in the death of the wicked ? 

And think not to extenuate it by saying that it 
was only for his elect : for it was thy sin, and the 
sin of all the world, that lay upon our Redeemer ; 
and his sacrifice and satisfaction is sufficient for all, 
and the fruits of it are offered to one as well as an- 
other. But it is true, that it was never the intent 
of his mind to pardon and save any that would not, 
by faith and repentance, be converted. If you had 
seen and heard him weeping and bemoaning the state 
of disobedience in impenitent people, Luke 19:41, 
42, " And when he was come near, he beheld the 
city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, 
even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which 
belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from 
thine eyes" — or complaining of their stubbornness, 
as Matt. 23 : 37, " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often 
would I have gathered thy children together^ even 
as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, 
and ye would not!" or if you had seen and heard 
him on the cross, praying for his persecutors, "Fa- 
ther, forgive them, for they know not what they do," 
would you have suspected that he had delighted in 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



75 



the death of the wicked, even of those that perish 
by their wilful unbelief? When God hath so loved 
the world — not only loved, but so loved — as to give 
his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in 
him, by an effectual faith, should not perish, but 
have everlasting life, I think he hath hereby proved, 
against the malice of men and devils, that he takes 
no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but had 
rather that they would "turn and live." 

6. If all this will not yet satisfy you, take His 
own word that he knoweth best his own mind, or at 
least believe his oath: but this leads me to the 
fourth doctrine. 



DOCTRINE IV. 

The Lord hath confirmed it to us by his Oath, that he hath no 
pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he turn 
and live ; that he may leave man no pretence to question 
the truth of it. 

If you dare question his word, I hope you dare 
not question his oath. As Christ hath solemnly pro- 
tested that the unregenerate and unconverted cannot 
enter into the kingdom of heaven, Matt. 18:3; John 
3:3; so God hath sworn that his pleasure is not in 
their death, but in their conversion and life. And as 
the apostle saith, Heb. 6 : 16-18, because he can 
swear by no greater, he sware by himself. " For 
men verily swear by the greater : and an oath for con- 



76 



A CALL TO 



firmation is to them an end of strife. Wherein God, 
willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of 
promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed 
it by an oath ; that by two immutable things, in 
which it was impossible for God to lie, we might 
have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to 
lay hold on the hope set before us ; which hope we 
have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stead- 
fast." If there be any man that cannot reconcile 
this truth with the doctrine of predestination, or the 
actual damnation of the wicked, that is his own 
ignorance ; he hath no pretence left to question or 
deny therefore the truth of the point in hand ; for 
this is confirmed by the oath of God, and therefore 
must not be distorted, to reduce it to other points : 
but doubtful points must rather be reduced to it, 
and certain truths must be believed to agree with it, 
though our shallow minds hardly discern the agree- 
ment. 

I do now entreat thee, if thou be an unconverted 
sinner that nearest these words, that thou wouldst 
ponder a little upon the forementioned doctrines, 
and bethink thyself awhile who it is that takes pleas- 
ure in thy sin and damnation. Certainly it is not 
God ; he hath sworn for his part that he takes no 
pleasure in it. And I know it is not the pleasing 
of him that you intend. You dare not say that 
you drink, and swear, and neglect holy duties, and 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



77 



quench the motions of the Spirit to please God. 
That were as if you should reproach the prince, and 
break his laws, and seek his death, and say you did 
all this to please him. 

Who is it, then, that takes pleasure in your sin and 
death ? Not any that bear the image of God, for 
they must be like-minded to him. God knows, it is 
small pleasure to your faithful teachers to see you 
serve your deadly enemy, and madly venture your 
eternal state and wilfully run into the flames of hell. 
It is small pleasure to them to see upon your souls 
(in the sad effects) such blindness, and hard-heart- 
edness, and carelessness, and presumption ; such 
wilfulness in evil, and such unteachableness and ob- 
stinacy against the ways of life and peace. They 
know these are marks of death, and of the wrath of 
God, and they know, from the word of God, what 
is like to be the end of them, and therefore it is no 
more pleasure to them than to a tender physician to 
see the plague-marks broke out upon his patient. 
Alas, to foresee your everlasting torments, and know 
not how to prevent them ! To see how near you are 
to hell, and we cannot make you believe it and con- 
sider it. To see how easily, how certainly you 
might escape, if we knew but how to make you 
willing. How fair you are for everlasting salvation, 
if you would but turn and do your best, and make 
it the care and business of your lives ! But you will 
not do it : if our lives lay on it, we cannot persuade 



¥8 



A CALL TO 



you to it. We study day and night what to say to 
you that may convince and persuade you, and yet it 
is undone : we lay before you the word of God, and 
show you the very chapter and verse where it is 
written, that you cannot be saved except you be 
converted ; and yet we leave the most of you as we 
find you. We hope you will believe the word of 
God though you believe not us, and regard it when 
we show you the plain Scripture for it ; but we hope 
in vain, and labor in vain, as to any saving change 
upon your hearts ! And do you think that this is a 
pleasant thing to us ? Many a time, in secret prayer, 
we complain to God with sad hearts, 

"Alas, Lord, we have spoken to them in thy 
name, but they little regard us ; we have told them 
what thou bidst us tell them concerning the danger 
of an unconverted state, but they do not believe us : 
we have told them that thou hast protested that 
there is no peace to the wicked, Isa. 57 : 21 ; but 
the worst of them all will scarcely believe that they 
are wicked. We have showed them thy word, where 
thou hast said, that if they live after the flesh they 
shall die, Rom. 8:13; but they say they will believe 
in thee, when they will not believe thee; and that 
they will trust in thee, when they give no credit to 
thy word ; and when they hope that the threaten- 
ings of thy word are false, they will yet call this a 
hoping in God ; and though we show them where 
thou hast said, that when a wicked man dieth, all 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



his hopes perish, yet we cannot persuade them from 
their deceitful hopes. Pro v. 11:7. We tell them 
what a base, unprofitable thing sin is ; but they love 
it/and therefore will not leave it. We tell them how 
dear they buy this pleasure, and what they must pay 
for it in everlasting torment : and they bless them- 
selves, and will not believe it, but will do as the most 
do ; and because God is merciful they will not be- 
lieve him, but will venture their souls, come what 
will. We tell them how ready the Lord is to receive 
them, and this doth but make them delay their re- 
pentance and be bolder in their sin. Some of them 
say they purpose to repent, but they are still the 
same ; and some say they do repent already, while 
yet they are not converted from their sins. We ex- 
hort them, we entreat them, we offer them our help, 
but we cannot prevail with them ; but they that 
were drunkards, are drunkards still ; and they that 
were voluptuous flesh-pleasing wretches, are such 
still ; and they that were worldlings, are worldlings 
still ; and they that were ignorant and proud and 
self- conceited, are so still. Few of them will see 
and confess their sin, and fewer will forsake it, but 
comfort themselves that all men are shiners, as if there 
were no difference between a converted sinner and 
an unconverted. Some of them will not come near 
us when we are willing to instruct them, but think 
they know enough already, and need not our instruc- 
tion ; and some of them will give us the hearing, and 



80 



A CALL TO 



do # what they list; and most of them are like dead 
men that cannot feel ; so that when we tell them of 
matters of everlasting consequence, we cannot get a 
word of it to their hearts. If we do not obey them, 
and humor them in doing all that they would have 
us, though never so much against the word of God, 
they will hate us, and rail at us ; but if we beseech 
them to confess, and forsake their sins, and save 
their souls, they will not do it. They would have 
us disobey God and damn our own souls to please 
them ; and yet they will not turn and save their own 
souls to please God. They are wiser in their own 
eyes than all their teachers ; they rage and are con- 
fident in their own way, and if we are ever so anx- 
ious we cannot change them. Lord, this is the case 
of our miserable neighbors, and we cannot help it : 
we see them ready to drop into hell, and we cannot 
help it ; we know if they would unfeignedly turn, 
they might be saved, but we cannot persuade them ; 
if we would beg it of them on our knees, we cannot 
persuade them to it ; if we would beg it of them 
with tears, we cannot persuade them; and what 
more can we do?" 

These are the secret complaints and moans that 
many a poor minister is compelled to make. And 
do you think that he hath any pleasure in this ? Is 
it a pleasure to him to see you go on in sin, and 
cannot stop you ? to see you so miserable, and can- 
not so much as make you sensible of it ? to see you 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



51 



merrv when you are not sure to be an hour out of 
hell? to think what you must for ever suffer, be- 
cause you will not turn ? and to think what an ever- 
lasting life of glory you wilfully despise and cast 
away? What sadder thing can you bring to their 
hearts, and how can you devise to grieve them more ? 

Who is it, then, that you please by your sin and 
death ? It is none of your godly friends. Alas, it 
is the grief of their souls to see your misery, and 
they lament you many a time when you give them 
little thanks for it, and when you have not hearts to 
lament yourselves. 

Who is it,. then, that takes pleasure in your sin ? 

1. The devil indeed takes pleasure in your sin and 
death ; for this is the very end of all his temptations ; 
for this he watches night and day; you cannot de- 
vise to please him better than to go on in sin. How 
glad is he when he sees thee going into the alehouse, 
or other sin, and when he heareth thee curse, or 
swear, or rail ! How glad is he when he heareth 
thee revile the minister that would draw thee from 
thy sin and help to save thee ! these are his delight. 

2. The wicked are also delighted in it; for it is 
agreeable to their nature. 

3. But I know, for all this, that it is not the pleas- 
ing of the devil that you intend, even when you 
please him ; but it is your own flesh, the greatest 
and most dangerous enemy, that you intend to please. 
It is the flesh that would be pampered, that would 

B. Call. G 



63 



A CALL TO 



be pleased in meat, and drink, and clothing ; that 
would be pleased with company, and pleased m 
applause and credit with the world, and pleased in 
sports, and lusts, and idleness ; this is the gulf that 
devoureth all. This is the very god that you serve, 
for the Scripture saith of such, that their bellies are 
their god. Phil. 3 : 19. But I beseech you, stay a 
little and consider the business. 

Question 1. Should your flesh be pleased before 
your Maker ? Will you displease the Lord, and 
displease your teacher, and your godly friends, to 
please your brutish appetites or sensual desires ? Is 
not God woithy to be the ruler of your flesh ? If he 
shall not rule it, he will not save it ; you cannot in 
reason expect that he should. 

Question 2. Your flesh is pleased with your sin, 
but is your conscience pleased ? Doth not it grudge 
within you, and tell you sometimes that all is not 
well, and that your case is not so safe as you make 
it to be ; and should not your souls and consciences 
be pleased before your corruptible rlesh ? 

Question 3. But is not your flesh preparing for 
its own displeasure also ? It loves the bait, but 
doth it love the hook? It loves the strong drink 
and sweet morsels ; it loves its ease, and sports, and 
memment ; it loves to be rich and well-spoken of by 
men, and to be somebody in the world ; but doth 
it love the curse of God? Doth it love to stand 
trembling before his bar, and to be judged to ever- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



18 



lasting fire ? Doth it love to be tormented with the 
devils for ever ? Take all together ; for there is no 
separating sin and hell but only by faith and true 
conversion ; if you will keep one, you must have the 
other. If death and hell be pleasant to thee, no 
wonder then if you go on in sin ; but if they be 
not, as I am sure they are not, then what if sin 
were ever so pleasant, is it worth the loss of life 
eternal ? Is a little drink, or meat, or ease ; is the 
good word of sinners, is the riches of this world to 
be valued above the joys of heaven? Or are they 
worth the sufferings of eternal fire? Sirs, these 
questions should be considered before you go any 
further, by every man that hath reason to consider, 
and that believes he hath a soul to save or lose. 

Well, the Lord here sweareth that he hath no 
pleasure in your death, but rather that you would 
turn and five ; if yet you will go on and die rather 
than turn, remember it was not to please God that 
you did it : it was to please the world, and to please 
yourselves. And if men will damn themselves to 
please themselves, and run into endless torments for 
delight, and have not the sense, the heart, the grace, 
to hearken to God or man that would reclaim them, 
what remedy is there, but they must take what they 
get by it, and repent of it in another manner, when 
it is too late ? Before I proceed any further in the 
application I shall consider the next doctrine, which 
gives me a fuller ground for it. 



A GALL TO 



DOCTRINE V. 

So earnest is God for the conversion of sinners that he doub- 
leth his commands and exhortations, with vehemency — 
Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ? 

This doctrine is the application of the former, by 
way of exhortation, and as such I shall handle it. 
Is there an unconverted sinner that heareth these 
vehement words of God ? Is there a man or wo- 
man in this assembly that is yet a stranger to the 
renewing, sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost ? It 
is a happy assembly if it be not so with the most. 
Hearken, then, to the voice of your Maker, and turn 
to him by Christ without delay. Would you knovr 
the will of God ? Why, this is his will, that you 
presently turn. Shall the living God send so ear- 
nest a message to his creatures, and should they not 
obey ? 

Hearken, then, all you that live after the flesh : the 
Lord that gave thee thy breath and being hath sent 
a message to thee from heaven ; and this is his mes- 
sage, Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear. Shall the voice of 
the eternal Majesty be neglected? If he do but 
terribly thunder, thou art afraid. 0 but this voice 
doth more nearly concern thee. If he did but tell 
thee thou shalt die to-morrow, thou wouldst not 
make light of it. 0 but this word concerneth thy 



T*HE UNCONVERTED. 



life or death everlasting. It is both, a command and 
an exhortation. As if he had said to thee, " I charge 
thee, upon the allegiance that thou owest to me, thy 
Creator and Redeemer, that thou renounce the flesh, 
the world, and the devil, and turn to me, that thou 
mayest live. I condescend to entreat thee, as thou , 
either lovest or fearest him that made thee ; as thou 
lovest thine own life, even thine everlasting life, turn 
and live : as ever thou wouldst escape eternal mis- 
ery, turn, turn, for why wilt thou die?" And is 
there a heart in man, in a reasonable creature, that 
can once refuse such a message, such a command, 
such an exhortation as this ? 0 what a thing, then, 
is the heart of man ! 

Hearken, then, all ye that love yourselves, and all 
that regard vour own salvation ; here is the most 
joyful message that was ever sent to the ears of man : 
" Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" You are not 
yet shut up under desperation. Here is mercy 
offered you; turn, and you shall have it. 0 sirs, 
with what glad and joyful hearts should you receive 
these tidings ! I know this is not the first time that 
you have beard it ; but how have you regarded it, 
or how do you regard it now ? Hear, all you igno- 
rant, careless sinners, the word of the Lord. Hear, 
all you worldlings, you sensual flesh-pleasers ; you 
gluttons, and drunkards, and whoremongers, and 
swearers ; you railers and backbiters, slanderers and 
liars — Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? 



80 



A CALL TO 



Hear, all you cold and outside professors, and all 
that are strangers to the life of Christ, and never 
knew the power of his cross and resurrection, and 
never felt your hearts warmed with his love, and live 
not on him as the strength of your souls — " Turn 
ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" 

Hear, all that are void of the love of God, whose 
hearts are not towards him, nor taken up with the 
hopes of glory, but who set more by your earthly 
prosperity and delights than by the joys of heaven; 
all you that are religious but a little by the by, and 
give God no more than your flesh can spare ; that 
have not denied your carnal selves, and forsaken 
all that you have for Christ, in the estimation and 
grounded resolution of your souls, but have some 
one thing in the world so dear to you that you can- 
not spare it for Christ, if he required it, but will 
rather venture on his displeasure than forsake it — 
" Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" 

If you never heard it, or observed it before, re- 
member that you were told from the word of God 
this day, that if you will but turn, you may live; 
and if you will not turn, you shall surely die. 

What now will you d- >, sirs ? What is your reso- 
lution ? Will you turn, or will you not ? Halt not 
any longer between two opinions. If the Lord be 
God, follow him; if your flesh be God, then serve 
it still. If heaven be better than earth and fleshly 
pleasures, come away, then, and seek a better coun- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



try, and lay up your treasure where rust and moths 
do not corrupt, and thieves cannot break through 
and steal ; and be awakened at last, with all your 
might to seek the kingdom that cannot be moved, 
Heb. 12 : 28, and to employ your lives on a higher 
design, and turn the stream of your cares and la- 
bors another way than formerly you have done. 
But if earth be better than heaven, or will do more 
for you, or last you longer, then keep it and make 
your best of it, and -follow it still. Sirs, are you 
resolved what to do ? If you be not, I will set a 
few more moving considerations before you, to see 
if reason will make you resolve. 

I. Consider what preparations mercy hath made 
for your salvation ; and what pity it is that any man 
should be damned after all this. The time was, 
when the flaming sword was in the way, and the 
curse of God's law would have kept thee back if 
thou hadst been never so willing to turn to God. 
The time was when thyself, and all the friends that 
thou hadst in the world, could never have produced 
thee the pardon of thy sins past, though thou hadst 
never so much lamented and reformed them. But 
Christ hath removed this impediment, by the ran- 
som of his blood. The time was, that God was 
wholly unreconciled, as being not satisfied for the 
violation of his law ; but now he is so far satisfied 
and reconciled, as that he hath made thee a free act 
of oblivion, and a free deed of the gift of .Christ and 



A CALL T O 



life, and offereth it to thee, and entreateth thee to 
accept it; and it may be thine if thou wilt. For 
"he was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, 
and hath committed to us the word of reconcilia- 
tion/' 2 Cor. 5 : 18, 19. Sinners, we too are com- 
manded to deliver this message to you all, as from 
the Lord : " Come, for all tilings are ready." Luke 
14:17. Are all things ready, and are you unready ? 
God is ready to entertain you, and pardon all that 
you have done against him, if you will but come. 
As long as you have sinned, as wilfully as you have 
sinned, as heinously as you have sinned, he is ready 
to cast all behind his back, if }-ou will but come. 
Though you have been prodigals, and run away from 
God, and have stayed away so long, he is ready 
even to meet you, and embrace you in his arms, and 
rejoice in your conversion, if you will but turn. 
Even the worldlings and drunkards will find God 
ready to bid them welcome, if they will but come. 
Doth not this turn thy heart within thee? 0 sin- 
ner ! if thou hadst a heart of flesh, and not of stone 
in thee, methinks this should melt it. Shall the 
dreadful infinite Majesty of heaven even wait for thy 
returning, and be ready to receive thee, who hast 
abused him, and forgotten him so long 1 ? Shall he 
delight in thy conversion, that might at any time 
glorify his justice in thy damnation ? and yet doth it 
not melt thy heart within thee, and art thou not yet 
ready to come in ? Hast thou not as much reason 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



89 



to be ready to come as God hath to invite thee and 
bid thee welcome ? 

But that is not all : Christ hath died on the cross, 
and made such a way for thee to the Father, that, 
on his account, thou mayest be welcome, if thou 
wilt come. And yet art thou not ready ? 

A pardon is already expressly granted, and offered 
thee in the Gospel. And yet art thou not ready ? 

The ministers of the Gospel are ready to assist 
thee, to instruct thee, pray for thee And yet art 
thou not ready ? 

All that fear God about thee are ready to rejoice 
in thy conversion, and to receive thee into the com- 
munion of saints, and to give thee the right hand of 
fellowship, yea, though thou hadst been one that 
had been cast out of their society : they dare not 
but forgive where God forgiveth, when it is manifest 
to them by thy confession and amendment ; they 
dare not so much as reproach thee with thy former 
sins*, because they know that God will not upbraid 
thee with them. If thou hadst been never so scan- 
dalous, if thou wouldst but heartily be converted 
and come in, they would not refuse thee, let the 
world say what they would against it. And are all 
these ready to receive thee, and yet art thou not 
ready to come in ? 

Yea, heaven itself is ready : the Lord will receive 
thee into the glory of his saints. Vile as thou hast 
been, if thou wilt be but cleansed thou mayest have 



90 



A CA LL TO 



a place before his throne ; his angels will be ready- 
to guard thy soul to the place of joy if thou do but 
unfeignedly come in. And is God ready, the sacri- 
fice of Christ ready, the promise ready, and pardon 
ready ? Are ministers ready, and the people of God 
ready, and heaven itself ready ? and angels ready ? 
and all these but waiting for thy conversion ; and 
yet art thou not ready ? What ! not ready to live, 
when thou hast been dead so long ? not ready to 
come to thy right understanding, as the prodigal is 
said to " come to himself," Luke 15 : 17, when thou 
hast been beside thyself so long ? Not ready to be 
saved, when thou art even ready to be condemned ? 
Art thou not ready to lay hold on Christ, that would 
deliver thee, when thou art even ready to sink into 
damnation ? Art thou not ready to be saved from 
hell, when thou art even ready to be cast remediless 
into it ? Alas, man ! dost thou know what thou do- 
est ? If thou die unconverted there is no doubt to 
be made of thy damnation; and thou art not sure 
to live an hour. And yet art thou not ready to turn 
and to come in ? O miserable wretch ! Hast thou 
not served the flesh and the devil long enough ? Yet 
hast thou not enough of sin ? Is it so good to thee, 
or so profitable for thee ? Dost thou know what it 
is, that thou wouldst yet have more of it ? Hast 
thou had so many calls, and so many mercies, and 
so many warnings, and so many examples ? Hast 
thou seen so many laid in the grave, and yet art 



THE UN CONVERTED. 



91 



thou not ready to let go thy sins and come to Christ ? 
What, after so many convictions and pangs of con- 
science, after so many purposes and promises, art 
thou not yet ready to turn and live ? 0 that thy 
eyes, thy heart were opened to know how fair an 
offer is now made to thee ! and what a joyful mes- 
sage it is that we are sent on, to bid thee come, for 
all things are ready ! 

II. Consider also, what calls thou hast to turn 
and live. How many, how loud, how earnest, how 
dreadful: and yet what encouraging, joyful calls! 
For the principal inviter is God himself. He that 
commandeth heaven and earth, commands thee to 
turn, and that presently, without delay. He com- 
mands the sun to run its course, and to rise upon 
thee every morning ; and though it be so glorious 
an orb, and many times bigger than all the earth, 
yet it obeyeth him, and faileth not one minute of its 
appointed time. He commandeth all the planets 
and the orbs of heaven, and they obey. He com- 
mandeth the sea to ebb and flow, and the whole 
creation to keep its course, and all obey him ; the 
angels of heaven obey his will, when he sends them 
to minister to such worms as we on earth, Heb. 
1 : 14 ; and yet if he command but a sinner to turn, 
he will not obey him. He only thinks himself wiser 
than God, and he cavils and pleads the cause of sin, 
and will not obey. If the Lord Almighty say the 
word, the heavens and all therein obey him ; but if 



A CALL TO 



he call a drunkard out of an alehouse, he will not 
obey : or if he call a worldly, fleshly sinner to deny 
himself, and mortify the flesh, and set his heart upon 
a better inheritance, he will not obey. 

If thou hadst any love in thee, thou wouldst know 
the voice, and say, O this is my Father's call ! how 
can I find in my heart to disobey? For the sheep 
of Christ "know and hear his voice, and they fol- 
low him, and he giveth them eternal life." John 
10:4, If thou hadst any spiritual life and sense in 
thee, at least thou wouldst say, "This call is the 
dreadful voice of God, and who dare disobey ? For 
saith the prophet, 'The lion hath roared, who will 
not fear V " Amos 3:8. God is not a man, that 
thou shouldst dally and trifle with him. Remember 
what he said to Paul' at his conversion, "It is hard 
for thee to kick against the pricks" Acts 9:5. 
Wilt thou yet go on and despise his word, and resist 
his Spirit, and stop thine ears against his call ? who 
is it that will have the worst of this ? Dost thou 
know whom thou disobeyest, and contendest with, 
and what thou art doing ? It were a far wiser and 
easier task for thee to contend with the thorns, and 
spurn them with thy bare feet, and beat them with 
thy bare hands, or put thy head into the burning 
fire. " Be not deceived ; God will not be mocked." 
Gal, 6:7. Whoever else be mocked, God will not 
be : you had better play with the fire in your thatch, 
than with the fire of his burning wrath. " For our 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



03 



God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12 : 29. 0 how 
unmeet a match art thou for God ! " It is a fearful 
thing to fall into his hands." Heb. 10 : 31. And 
therefore it is a fearful thing to contend with him 
or resist him. As you love your own souls, take 
heed what you do : what will you say if he begin 
in wrath to plead with you ? what will you do if 
he take you once in hand ? Will you then strive 
against his judgment, as now ye do against his grace ? 
is Fury is not in me, 13 saith the Lord, that is, I de- 
light not to destroy you : I do it, as it were, unwill- 
ingly ; but yet, " who would set the bi*iars and thorns 
against me in battle ? I would go through them, I 
would bum them together. Or let him take hold of 
my strength, that he may make peace with me, and 
he shall make peace with me" Isa. 27 : 4, 5. It is 
an unequal combat for the briers and stubble to 
make war with the fire. ' \ 

Thus you see who it is that calleth you, that would 
move you to hear his call/^nd turn. So consider 
also by what instruments, and^ how often, and how 
earnestly he calls. 

1. Every leaf of the blessed book of God hath, 
as it were, a voice, and calls out to thee, Turn, and 
live ; turn, or thou wilt die. ^Tbw canst thou open 
it, and read a leaf, or hear a chapter, and not per- 
ceive God bids thee turn ?'. . » 

2. It is the voice of every, sermon that thou 
nearest: for what else is the scope and drift of 



94 



A CALL TO 



all, but to call, and persuade, and entreat thee *o 
turn? 

3. It is the voice of many a motion of the Spirit 
that secretly speaks over these words again, and 
urgeth thee to turn. 

4. It is likely, sometimes it is the voice of thy own 
conscience. Art thou not sometimes convinced that 
all is not well with thee ? And doth not thy con- 
science tell thee that thou must be a new man, and 
take a new course, and often call upon thee to return ? 

5. It is the voice of the gracious examples of the 
godly. When thou seest them live a heavenly life, 
and fly from the sin which is thy delight, this really 
calls on thee to turn. 

6. It is the voice of all the works of God : for 
they also are God's books that teach thee this les- 
son, by showing thee his greatness, and wisdom, and 
goodness ; and calling thee to observe them, and ad- 
mire the Creator. " The heavens declare the glory 
of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work : 
day unto day uttereth speech, night unto night show- 
eth knowledge." Psa. 19 : 1,2. Every time the sun 
riseth unto thee, it really calleth thee to turn, as if it 
should say, " What do I travel and compass the world 
for, but to declare to men the glory of their Maker, 
and to light them to do his work ? And do I still 
find thee doing the work of sin, and sleeping out thy 
life in negligence ? Awake, thou that sleep est, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



95 



Ephes. 5 : 14. " The night is far spent, the day is 
at liand ; it is now high time to awake out of sleep. 
Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and 
let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk hon- 
estly, as in the day ; not in rioting and drunkenness, 
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and 
envying : but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts 
thereof." Rom. 13 : 11-14. This text was the 
means of Augustin's conversion. 

7. It is the voice of every mercy thou dost pos- 
sess. If thou couldst but hear and understand them, 
they all cry out unto thee, Turn. Why doth the 
earth bear thee, but to seek and serve the Lord ? 
Why doth it afford thee its fruits, but to serve him ? 
Why doth the air afford thee breath, but to serve 
him ? Why do all the creatures serve thee with 
their labors and their lives, but that thou mightest 
devote them and thyself to the service of God? 
Why doth he give thee time, and health, and strength, 
but to serve him ? Why hast thou meat, and drink, 
and clothes, but for his service? Hast thou any 
thing which thou hast not received ? and if thou 
didst receive them, it is reason thou shouldst bethink 
thee from whom, and to what end and use thou 
didst receive them. Didst thou never cry to him 
for help in thy distress, and didst thou not then un- 
derstand that it was thy part to turn and serve him, 
if he would deliver thee ? He hath done his part, 



3d 



A CALL TO 



and spared thee yet longer, and tried thee another, 
and another year ; and yet dost thou not turn ? You 
know the parable of the unfruitful fig-tree. Luke 
13 : 6-9. When the Lord had said, " Cut it down, 
why cumbereth it the ground ?" he was entreated 
to try u one year longer, and then if it proved not 
fruitful, to cut it down. Christ himself there makes 
the application twice over, " Except ye repent, ye 
shall all likewise perish." How many years hath 
God looked for the fruits of love and holiness from 
thee, and hath found none, and yet he hath spared 
thee ! How many a time, by thy wilful ignorance, 
and carelessness, and disobedience, hast thou pro- 
voked justice to say, " Cut him down, why cumber- 
eth he the ground ?" And yet mercy hath prevailed, 
and patience hath forborne the fatal blow to this day. 
If thou hadst the understanding of a man within 
thee, thou wouldst know that all this calleth thee to 
turn. "Dost thou think thou shalt still escape the 
judgment of God ? or despisest thou the riches of 
his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering ; 
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee 
to repentance ? But, after thy hardness and impen- 
itent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against 
the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous 
judgment of God, who will render to every man 
according to his deeds. " Rom. 2 : 3-6. 

8. Moreover, it is the voice of every affliction to 
call thee to make haste and iuxk. Sickness and pain 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



93 



cry, Turn: and poverty, and loss of friends, and 
every twig of the chastening rod cry> Turn. And 
yet wilt thou not hearken to the call ? These have 
come near thee, and made thee feel ; they have 
made thee groan, and can they not make thee turn ? 

9. The very frame of thy nature and being itself 
bespeaketh thy return. Why hast thou reason, but 
to rule thy flesh, and serve thy Lord? Why hast 
thou an understanding soul, but to learn and know 
his will and do it ? Why hast thou a heart within 
thee that can love, and fear, and desire, but that 
thou shouldst fear him, and love him, and desire 
after him ? 

Lay all these together now, and see what should 
be the issue. The holy Scriptures call upon thee to 
turn ; the ministers of Christ call upon thee to turn ; 
the Spirit cries, Turn ; thy conscience cries, Turn ; 
the godly, by persuasion and example, cry, Turn; 
the whole world, and all the creatures therein that 
are presented to thy consideration, cry, Turn ; the 
patient forbearance of God cries, Turn ; all the mer- 
cies which thou receivest cry, Turn ; the rod of God's 
chastisement cries, Turn ; thy reason and the frame 
of thy nature bespeaks thy turning ; and so do all 
thy promises to God : and yet art thou not resolved 
to turn ? 

III. Moreover, poor, hard-hearted sinner, didst 
thou ever consider upon what terms thou standest 
*11 this while with Him that calleth on thee to turn ? 

B. Call. 7 



m 



A CALL TO 



Thou art his own, and owest him thyself and all thou 
hast ; and may he not command his own ? Thou 
art his absolute servant, and should serve no other 
master. Thou standest at his mercy, and thy life 
is in his hand, and he is resolved to save thee upon 
no other terms ; thou hast many malicious spiritual 
enemies that would be glad if God would but for- 
sake thee, and let them alone with thee, and leave 
thee to their will : how quickly would they deal with 
thee in another manner ! and thou canst not be de- 
livered from them but by turning unto God. Thou 
art fallen under his wrath by thy sin already ; and 
thou knowest not how long his patience will yet wait. 
Perhaps this is the last year, perhaps the last day. 
His sword is even at thy heart while the word is in 
thine ear ; and if thou turn not, thou art a dead and 
undone man. "Were thy eyes but open to see where 
thou standest, even upon the blink of hell, and to 
see how many thousands are there already that did 
not turn, thou wouldst see that it is time to look 
about thee. 

Well, sirs, look inwards now and tell me how your 
hearts are affected with these offers of the Lord. 
You hear what is his mind : he delighteth not in 
your death ; he calls to you, Turn, turn : it is a fear- 
ful sign if all this move thee not, or if it do but half 
move thee ; and much more if it make thee more 
careless in thy misery, because thou nearest of the 
mercifulness of God. The working of the medicine 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



99 



will partly tell us whether there be any hope of the 
cure. 0 what glad tidings would it be to those that 
are now in hell, if they had but such a message from 
God ! What a joyful word would it be to hear this, 
Turn and live ! yea, what a welcome word would it 
be to thyself, when thou hadst felt that wrath of 
God but an hour ! Or if, after a thousand or ten 
thousand years' tonnent, thou couldst but hear such 
a word from God, " Turn and live;" and yet wilt 
thou neglect it, and suffer us to return without our 
errand ? 

Behold, sinners, we are sent here as the messen- 
gers of the Lord to set before you life and death. 
What say you ? which of them will you choose ? 
Christ standeth, as it were, by thee, with heaven in 
the one hand and hell in the other, and offereth thee 
thy choice. Which wilt thou choose ? The voice 
of the Lord maketh the rocks to tremble. Psa. 29. 
And is it nothing to hear him threaten thee, if thou 
wilt not ton ? Dost thou not understand and feel 
this voice, " Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" It 
is the voice of love, of infinite love, of thy best and 
kindest friend, as thou might est easily perceive by 
the motion ; and yet canst thou neglect it ? It is 
the voice of pity and compassion. The Lord seeth 
whither thou art going better than thou dost, which 
makes him call after thee, Turn, turn. He seeth 
what will become of thee, if thou turn not. He 
thinketh with himself, " Ah ! this poor sinner will 



A CALL TO 



cast himself into endless torments if lie do not turn. 
I must in justice deal with him according to my 
righteous law. ' ' And therefore he calleth after thee, 
Turn, turn. 0 sinner ! if thou didst but know the 
thousandth part as well as God doth the danger that 
is near you, and the misery that you are running 
irt:, we should have no more need to call after you 
to turn. 

Moreover, this voice that calleth to thee is the 
same that hath prevailed with thousands already, 
and called all to heaven that are now there ; and 
they would not now for a thousand worlds that they 
had made lio-ht of it, and not turned to God. ISTow 
what are they possessing that turned at God's call ? 
lS"ow they perceive that it was indeed the voice of 
love, that meant them no more harm than their sal 
vation ; and if thou wilt obey the same call thou 
shalt come to the same happiness. There are mil- 
lions that must for ever lament that they turned not ; 
but there is never a soul in heaven that is sorry that 
they were converted. 

Well, sirs, are you yet resolved, or are you not ? 
Do I need to say any more to you ? What will you 
do ? Will you turn, or not ? Speak, man, in thy 
heart to God, though you speak not out to me; 
gpeak, lest he take thy silence for denial; speak 
quickly, lest he never make thee the like offer more ; 
speak resolvedly, and not waveringly, for he will 
have no indifferent ones to be his followers. Say in 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



101 



thine heart now, without any more delay, even be- 
fore thou stir hence, " By the grace of God I am 
resolved presently to turn. And because I know 
my own insufficiency, I am resolved to wait on God 
for his grace, and to follow him in his ways, and for- 
sake my former courses and companions, and give up 
myself to the guidance of the Lord." 

Sirs, you are not shut up in the darkness of hea- 
thenism, nor in the desperation of the damned. Life 
is before you, and you may have it on reasonable 
terms, if you will ; yea, on free cost, if you will ac- 
cept it. The way of God lieth plain before you ; the 
church is open to you. You may have Christy and 
pardon, and holiness, if you will. What say you ? 
Will you, or will you not ? If you say Nay, or say 
nothing, and still go on, God is witness, and those 
who hear me are witnesses, and your own consciences 
are witnesses, how fair an offer you had this day. 
Eemember, you might have had Christ, and would 
not. Remember, when you have lost it, that you 
might have had eternal life as well as others, and 
would not ; and all this because you would not turn ! 

But let us come to the next doctrine, and hear 
your reasons. 



102 



A CALL TO 



DOCTRINE VI, 

The Lord condescendeth to reason the case with unconverted 

sinners, and to ask them why they will die. 

A straxge disputation it is, both as to the con- 
troversy and as to the disputants. 

I. The controversy, or question propounded is, 
Why wicked men will destroy themselves ? or, Why 
they will rather die than turn ; whether they have 
anv sufficient reason for so doino* ? 

II. The disputants are God and man : the most 
holy God, and wicked unconverted sinners. 

Is it not a strange thing, which God doth here 
seem to suppose, that any man should be willing to 
die and be damned ? yea, that this should be the 
case of all the wicked ? that is, of the greatest part 
of the world. But you will say, " This cannot be ; 
for nature desireth the preservation and felicity of 
itself ; and the wicked are more selfish than others, 
and not less ; and therefore how can any man be 
willing to be damned ? M 

To which I answer : 1. It is a certain truth that 
no man can be willing to bear any evil, as evil, but 
only as it hath some appearance of good ; much less 
can any man be willing to be eternally tormented. 
Misery, as such, is desired by none. 2. But yet, for 
all that, it is most true which God here teacheth us, 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



103 



that the cause why the wicked die is, because they 
will die. And this is true in several respects. 

1. Because they will go the way that leads to hell, 
although they are told by God and man whither it 
goes and where it ends ; and though God hath so 
often professed in his word, that if they hold on in 
that way they shall be condemned ; and that they 
shall not be saved unless they turn. " There is no 
peace, saith my God, to the wicked." "The way of 
peace they know not ; there is no judgment in their 
goings ; they have made them crooked paths. Who- 
soever goeth therein shall not know peace." Isa. 
48 : 22 ; 57:21; 59 : 8. They have the word and 
the oath of the living God for it, that if they will 
not turn they shall not enter into his rest : and yet, 
wicked they are, and wicked they will be, let God 
and man say what they will : fleshly they are, and 
fleshly they will be ; worldlings they are, and world- 
lings they will be ; though God hath told them that 
the love of the world is enmity to God, and that if 
any man love the world (in that measure) the love 
of the Father is not in him. James 4:4; 1 John, 
2:15. So that, consequently, these men are willing 
to be damned, though not directly ; they are willing 
to walk in the way to hell, and love the certain cause 
of their torment ; though they do not will hell itself, 
and do not love the pain which they must endure. 

Is not this the truth of your case, sirs? You 
would not burn in hell, but you will kindle the Are 



104 



A CALL TO 



by your sins, and cast yourselves into it ; you would 
not be tormented with devils for ever, but you will 
do that which will certainly procure it in spite of all 
that can be said against it. It is just as if you would 
say, " I will drink this poison, but yet I will not die. 
I will cast myself headlong from the top of a stee- 
ple, but yet I will not kill myself. I will thrust this 
knife into my heart, but yet I will not take away my 
life. I will put this fire into the thatch of my house, 
but yet I will not burn it." Just so it is with wicked 
men ; they will be wicked, and they will live after 
the flesh and the world, and yet they would not be 
damned. But do you not know that the means lead 
to the end ? and that God hath, by his righteous law, 
concluded that you must repent or perish ? He that 
will take poison may as well say plainly, I will kil* 
myself, for it will prove no better in the end ; though 
perhaps he loved it for the sweetness of the sugai 
that was mixed with it, and would not be persuaded 
that it was poison, but that he might take it and do 
well enough ; but it is not his conceits and confidence 
that will save his life, So, if you will be drunkards, 
or fornicators, or worldlings, or live after the flesh, 
you may as well say plainly, We will be damned ; 
for so you will be unless you turn. Would you not 
rebuke the folly of a murderer that would say, I will 
kill, but I will not be hanged, when he knows, that 
if he does the one, the judge in justice will see that 
the other be done ? If he say, I will murder, he 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



105 



may as well say plainly, I will be hanged ; and if 
you will go on in carnal life, you may as well say 
plainly, We will go to Sell, 

2. Moreover, the wicked will not use those means 
without which there is no hope of their salvation. 
He that will not eat. may as well say plainly, he will 
not live, unless he can tell how to live without meat. 
He that will not go his journey, may as well say 
plainly, he will not come to the end. He that falls 
into the water, and will not come out, nor suffer 
another to help him out, may as well say plainlv, he 
will be drowned. So, if you be carnal and ungodly, 
and will not be converted, nor use the means by 
which you should be converted, but think it more 
ado than needs, you may as well say plainly you 
will be damned ; for if you have found out a way 
to be saved without conversion, you have done that 
which was never done before. 

3. Yea, this is not all ; but the wicked are un- 
willing even to partake of salvation itself ; though 
they may desire somewhat which they call by the 
name of heaven, yet heaven itself, considered in the 
true nature of the felicity, they desire not ; yea, 
their hearts are quite against it. Heaven is a state 
of perfect holiness, and of continual love and praise 
to God, and the wicked have no heart to this. The 
imperfect love, and praise, and holiness which is 
here to be attained, they have no mind for ; much 
less for that which is so much greater. The joys of 



100 



A CALL TO 



heaven are of so pure and spiritual a nature that 

the heart of the Tricked cannot truly desire them. 

So that by this time you may see on what ground 
it is that God supposeth that the Tricked Trill their 
otvtl destruction. Thev Trill not turn, though they 
must turn or die : they vrill rather venture on cer- 
tain misery than be converted ; and then, to quiet 
themselves in their sins, they vrill make themselves 
believe that they shall nevertheless escape. 

II. And as this controversy is matter of wonder, 
in that men should be such enemies to themselves 
as wflfaHy to cast away their souls, so are the dis- 
putants too : that God should stoop so low as thus 
co plead the case with men ; and that men should 
be so strangely blind and obstinate as to need all 
this in so plain a case ; yea, and to resist all this, 
when their own salvation lieth upon the issue. 

No wonder if they will not hear us that are men, 
when they will not hear the Lord himself. As God 
saith, when he sent the prophet to the Israelites, 
" The house of Israel will not hearken unto thee ; 
for they will not hearken unto me : for all the house 
of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.'' Ezek. 
3 : 7. ZS o wonder if they can plead against a min- 
ister, or a godly neighbor, when they will plead 
against the Lord himself, even against the plainest 
passages of his word, and think that they have rea- 
son on their side. TVhen they weary the Lord with 
their words, they say, u Wherein have we wearied 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



107 



him?" Mat 2:17. The priests that despised his 
name durst ask, " Wherein have we despised thy 
name?" And "when they polluted his altar, and 
made the table of the Lord contemptible," they 
durst say, "Wherein have we polluted thee?" 
Mai. 1 : 6, 1. But " Woe unto him," saith the Lord, 
"that striveth with his Maker ! Let the potsherds 
strive with the potsherds of the earth : shall the 
clay say to him that fashioneth it, What rnakest 
thou?" Isa. 45:9. 

Question. But why is it that God will reason the 
case with man ? 

Answer 1. Because man being a reasonable crea- 
ture, is to be dealt with accordingly, and by reason 
to be persuaded and overcome ; God hath therefore 
endowed them with reason, that they might use it 
for him. One would think a reasonable creature 
should not go against the clearest, the greatest rea- 
son in the world, when it is set before him. 

2. At least, men shall see that God did require 
nothing of them that was unreasonable ; but both in 
what he commandeth them, and what he forbids 
them, he hath all the right reason in the world on 
his side ; and they have good reason to obey him — 
but none to disobey him. And thus even the 
damned shall be forced to justify God, and confess 
that it was only reasonable that they should have 
turned to him ; and they shall be forced to condemn 
themselves, and confess that they had little reasGn 



108 



A CALL TO 



to cast away themselves by the neglecting of his 
grace in the day of their visitation. 

Look up your best and strongest reasons, sinners, 
if you will make good your way. You see now 
with whom you have to deal. What sayest thou, 
unconverted, sensual sinner? Darest thou venture 
upon a dispute with God? Art thou able to con- 
fute him ? Art thou ready to enter the lists ? God 
asketh thee, "Why wilt thou die ? Art thou fur- 
nished with a sufficient answer ? Wilt thou under- 
take to prove that God is mistaken, and that thou 
art in the right ?' O what an undertaking is that ! 
Why, either he or you are mistaken, when he is for 
your conversion, and you are against it ; he calls 
upon you to turn, and you will not; he bids you do 
it presently, even to-day, while it is called to-day, 
and you delay, and think it time enough hereafter. 
He saith it must be a total change, and you must be 
holy and new creatures, and born again ; and you 
think that less may serve the turn, and that it is 
enough to patch up the old man, without becoming 
new. Who is in the right now ? God or you ? 
God calleth you to turn, and to live a holy life, and 
you will not. By your disobedient lives it appears 
you will not. If you will, why do you not? Why 
have you not done it all this while ? And why do 
you not fall upon it yet ? Your wills have the 
command of your lives. We may certainly conclude 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



109 



that you are unwilling to turn, when you do not 
turn. And why will you not ? Can you give any 
reason for it that is worthy to be called a reason ? 

I that am but a worm, your fellow- creature, of a 
shallow capacity, dare challenge the wisest of you 
all to reason the case with me while I plead my Ma- 
ker's cause ; and I need not be discouraged when I 
know I plead but the cause that God pleadeth, and 
contend for him that will have the best at last. 
Had I but these two general grounds against you, I 
am sure that you have no good reason on your side. 

1. I am sure it can be no good reason which is 
against the God of truth and reason. It cannot be 
light that is contrary to the sun. There is no know- 
ledge in any creature but what it had from God ; 
and therefore none can be wiser than God. It were 
fatal presumption for the highest angel to compare 
with his Creator ! What is it, then, for a lump of 
earth, an ignorant sot, that knoweth not himself nor 
his own soul, that knoweth but little of the things 
which he seeth, yea, that is more ignorant than 
many of his neighbors, to set himself against the 
wisdom of the Lord ! It is one of the fullest dis- 
coveries of the horrible wickedness of carnal men, 
and the madness of such as sin, that so silly a mole 
dare contradict his Maker, and call in question the 
word of God : yea, that those people that are so 
ignorant that they cannot give us a reasonable an- 
swer concerning the very first principles of religion, 



110 



A CALL TO 



are yet so wise in their own conceit that they dare 

question the plainest truths of God, yea, contradict 
them and cavil against them, when they can scarcely 
speak sense, and will believe them no further than 
agreeth with their foolish wisdom ! 

2. And as I know that God must needs be in the 
right, so I know the case is so palpable and gross 
which he pleadeth against, that no man can have 
reason for it. Is it possible that a man can have 
any reason to break his Maker's laws, and reason to 
dishonor the Lord of glory, and reason to abuse the 
Lord that bought him ? Is it possible that a man 
can have any good reason to damn his own immortal 
soul ? Mark the Lord's question, Turn ye, turn ye, 
why will you die ? Is eternal death a thing to be 
desired ? Are you in love with hell ? What rea- 
son have you wilfully to perish ? If you think you 
have some reason to sin, should you not remember 
that death is the wages of sin, Rom. 6 : 23, and 
think whether you have any reason to undo your- 
selves, body and soul, forever ? You should not 
only ask whether you love the adder, but whether 
you love the sting ? It is such a thing for a man to 
cast away his everlasting happiness, and to sin against 
God, that no good reason can be given for it ; but 
the more any one pleads for it, the more mad he 
showeth himself to be. Had you a kingdom offered 
you for every sin that you commit, it were not rea- 
son but madness to accept it. Could you by every 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



Ill 



sin obtain the highest thing on earth that flesh de- 
sireth, it were of no considerable value to persuade 
you in reason to commit it. If it were to please 
your greatest or dearest friends, or to obey the 
greatest prince on earth, or to save your lives, or to 
escape the greatest earthly misery ; all these are of 
no consideration to draw a man in reason to the 
committing of one sin. If it were a right hand or a 
right eye that would hinder your salvation, it is the 
most gainful way to cast it away, rather than to go 
to hell to save it ; for there is no saving a part when 
you lose the whole. So exceedingly great are the 
matters of eternity, that nothing in this world de- 
serveth once to be named in comparison with them ; 
nor can any earthly thing, though it were life, or 
crowns, or kingdoms, be a reasonable excuse for the 
neglect of matters of such high and everlasting con- 
sequence. A man can have no reason to cross his 
ultimate end. Heaven is such a thing, that if vou 
lose it, nothing can supply the want, or make up the 
less ; and hell is such a thing, that if you suffer it, 
nothing can remove your misery, or give you ease 
and comfort ; and therefore nothing can be a valu- 
able consideration to excuse you for neglecting your 
own salvation ; for, saith our Saviour, " What shall 
it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ?" Mark 8 : 36. 

0 sirs, did you but know what matters they are 
that we are now speaking to you of, you would have 



112 



A CALL TO 



other thoughts of these things. If the devil could 

come to the saints in heaven that live in the siffht 
and love of God, and should offer theni sensual 
pleasures, or merry company, or sports to entice 
them away from God and glory, I pray you tell me. 
how do you think they would entertain the motion ? 
2s ay, or if he should offer them to be kings on the 
earth, do you think this would entice them down 
from heaven ? 0 with what hatred and holy scorn 
would they reject the motion ! and why should not 
you do so, that have heaven open to your faith, if 
you had but faith to see it ? There is not a soul in 
hell but knows, by this time, that it was a mad ex- 
change to let go heaven for fleshly pleasure ; and 
that it is not a little mirth, or pleasure, or worldly 
riches, or honor, or the good- will or word of men, 
that will quench hell fire, or make him a gainer that 
loseth his soul. 0 if you had heard what I believe, 
if you had seen what I believe, and that on the 
credit of the word of God, you would say there can 
be no reason to warrant a man to destroy his soul ; 
you durst not sleep quietly another night, before you 
had resolved to turn and live. 

If you see a man put his hand in the fire till it 
burn off, you will marvel at it ; but this is a thing 
that a man may have reason for, as Bishop Cranmer 
had when he burnt off his hand for subscribing to 
popery. If you see a man cut off a leg or an arm, 
it is a sad sight ; but this is a thing that a man m-aj 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



113 



have a good reason for, as many a man hath it done 
to save his life. If you see a man give his body to 
be tormented with scourges and racks, or to be 
burned to ashes, and refuse deliverance when it is 
offered, this is a hard case to flesh and blood ; but 
this a man may have good reason for, as you may 
see in Heb. 11 : 33-36, and as many a hundred mar- 
tyrs have done. But for a man to forsake the Lord 
that made him, and to run into the fire of hell when 
he is told of it, and entreated to turn that he may 
be saved — this is a thing that can have no reason in 
the world to justify or excuse it. For heaven will 
pay for the loss of any thing that we can lose to 
obtain it, or for any labor which we bestow for it ; 
but nothing can pay for the loss of heaven. 

I beseech you now let this word come nearer to 
your heart. As you are convinced that you have 
no reason to destroy yourselves, so tell me what 
reason have you to refuse to turn and live to God ? 
What reason has the veriest worldling, or drunkard, 
or ignorant, careless sinner of you all, why he should 
not be as holy as any you know, and be as careful 
for his soul as any other ? Will not hell be as intol- 
erable to you as to others ? Should not your own 
souls be as dear to you as theirs to them ? Hath 
not God as much authority over you ? Why, then, 
will you not become a sanctified people, as well as 
they? 

O sirs, when God bringeth the matter down to 

E. Call. 8 



114 



A CALL TO 



the very principles of nature, and shows that you 
have no more reason to be ungodly than you have to 
damn your own souls — if yet you will not understand 
and turn, it seems a desperate case that you are in. 

And now, either you have good reason for what 
you do, or you have not : if not, will you go against 
reason itself ? Will you do that which you have no 
reason for ? But if you think you have a reason, pro- 
duce it, and make the best of your matter. Reason 
the case a little with me, your fellow- creature, which 
is far easier than to reason the case with God ; tell 
me, man, here before the Lord, as if thou wert to die 
this hour, why shouldst thou not resolve to turn this 
day, before thou stir from the place thou standest 
in ; what reason hast thou to deny or to delay ? Hast 
thou any reasons that satisfy thine own conscience 
for it, or any that thou darest own and plead at the 
bar of God ? If thou hast, let us hear them, bring 
them forth and make them good. But, alas, what 
poor stuff, what nonsense, instead of reasons, do we 
daily hear from ungodly men ! But for the worth 
of their immortal souls, I should be ashamed to 
name them. 

Objection 1. One saith, if none shall be saved 
but such converted and sanctified ones as you tall* 
of, heaven will be but empty : then God help a great 
many ! 

Answer. Why, it seems you think that God doth ' 
not know, or else that he is not to be believed. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



115 



Measure not all by yourselves : God hath thousands 
and millions of his sanctified ones ; but yet they are 
few in comparison of the world, as Christ himself 
hath told us. Matt. 7 : 13, 14. It better beseems 
you to make that use of tins truth which Christ 
teacheth you : " Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; 
for strait is the gate and narrow is the way that 
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ; but 
wide is the gate and broad is the way which leadeth 
to destruction, and many there be that go in there- 
at." Luke 13:22-24. "Fear not, little flock," 
saith Christ to his sanctified ones, " for it is your 
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." 
Luke 12 : 32. 

Objection 2. I am sure, if such as I go to hell, 
we shall have store of company. 

Answer. And will that be any ease or comfort to 
you ? Or do you think you may not have company 
enough in heaven ? Will you be imdone for com- 
pany, or will you not believe that God will execute 
his threatenings because there be so many that are 
guilty? These are all unreasonable conceits. 

Objection 3. But all men are sinners, even the 
best of you all. 

Answer. But all are not unconverted sinners. 
The godly live not in gross sins; and their very 
infirmities are their grief and burden, which they 
daily long, and pray, and strive to be rid of. Sin 
hath no dominion over them. 



116 



A CALL TO 



Objection 4. I do not see that professors are any 
better than other men; they will overreach, and 
oppress, and are as covetous as any. 

Answer. Whatever hypocrites are, it is not so 
with those that are sanctified. God hath thousands 
and tens of thousands that are otherwise, though the 
malicious world accuse them of what they can never 
prove, and of that which never entered into their 
hearts ; and commonly they charge them with heart 
sins, which none can see but God, because they can 
charge them with no such wickedness in their lives 
as they are guilty of themselves. 

Objection 5. But I am no whoremonger, nor 
drunkard, nor oppressor ; and therefore why should 
you call upon me to be converted ? 

Answer. As if you were not born after the flesh, 
and had not lived after the flesh as well as others ! 
Is it not as great a sin as any of these, for a man to 
have an earthly mind, and to love the world above 
God, and to have an unbelieving, unhumbled heart ? 
Nay, let me tell you more, that many persons that 
avoid disgraceful sins are as fast glued to the world, 
and as much slaves to the flesh, and as strange to 
God and averse to heaven, in their more civil course, 
as others are in their more shameful, notorious sins. 

Objection 6. But I mean nobody any harm, nor 
do any harm ; and why, then, should God condemn 
me? 

Answer. Is it no harm to neglect the Lord that 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



117 



made thee, and the work for which thou earnest into 
the world, and to prefer the creature before the Cre- 
ator, and to neglect grace that is daily offered thee ? 
It is the depth of thy sinfulness to be so insensible 
of it : the dead feel not that they are dead. If once 
thou wen made alive, -thou wouldst see more amiss 
in thyself, and marvel at thyself for making so light 
of it. 

Objection 7. I think you would make men mad, 
under pretence of converting them : it is enough to 
rack the brains of simple people to muse so much 
on matters too high for them. 

Answer 1. Can you be more mad than you are 
already ? or, at least, can there be a more danger- 
ous madness than to neglect vour everlasting welfare 
and wilfully undo yourselves '? 

2. A man is never truly in his right mind till he 
be converted : he never knows God, nor knows sin, 
nor knows Christ, nor knows the world, nor himself, 
nor what his business is on earth, so as to set him- 
self about it, till he be converted. The Scripture 
saith that the wicked are unreasonable men, and 
that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with 
God. 2 Thess. 3 : 2 ; 1 Cor. 1:20; and Luke 15:17. 
It is said of the prodigal, that when he came to him- 
self he resolved to return. What a strange wisdom 
is this ; men will disobey God, and run to hell, for 
fear of being accounted fools ! 

3. What is there in the work that Christ calls you 



118 



A CALL TO 



to, that should drive a man out of his senses ? Is 
it loving God, and calling upon him, and comforta- 
bly thinking of the glory to come, and the forsaking 
of our sins, and loving one another, and delighting 
ourselves in the service of God ? Are these such 
things as should make men mad ? 

4. And whereas you say that these matters are 
too high for us ; you accuse God himself for making 
this our work, and giving us his word, and com- 
manding all that will be blessed to meditate on it 
day and night. Are the matters which we are made 
for, and which we live for, too high for us to med- 
dle with ? This is plainly to unman us, and to make 
beasts of us, as if we were like them that must med- 
dle with no higher matters than what belongs to 
flesh and earth. If heaven be too high for you to 
think on and provide for, it will be too high for you 
ever to possess. 

5. If God should sometimes suffer any weak- 
headed person to be distracted by thinking of eter- 
nal things, this is because they misunderstand them, 
and run without a guide ; and of the two, I had 
rather be in the case of such a one, than of .the mad, 
unconverted world, that take their distraction to be 
their wisdom. 

Objection 8. I do not think that God cares so 
much what men think, or speak, or do, as to make 
so great a matter of it. 

Answer. It seems, then, you take the word of 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



119 



God to be false : then what will you believe ? But 
your own reason might teach you better, if you 
believe not the Scriptures ; for you see God sets not 
so light by us but that he vouchsafed to make us, 
and still preserveth us, and daily upholdeth us, and 
provideth for us ; and will any wise man make a cu- 
rious frame for nothing ? Will you make or buy a 
clock or watch, and daily look at it, and not care 
whether it go true or false ? Surely, if you believe 
not a particular eye of Providence observing your 
hearts and lives, you cannot believe or expect any 
particular Providence to observe your wants and 
troubles, or to relieve you ; and if God had so little 
care for you as you imagine, you would never have 
lived till now ; a hundred diseases would have striven 
which should first destroy you ; yea, the devils would 
have haunted you, and fetched you away alive, as 
the great fishes devour the less, and as ravenous 
beasts and birds devour others. You cannot think 
that God made man for no end or use, and if he 
made him for any, it was surely for himself ; and can 
you think he cares not whether his end be accom- 
plished, and whether we do the work that we are 
made for? 

Yea, by this atheistical objection you suppose God 
to have made and upheld all the world in vain ; for 
what are all other lower creatures for, but for man ? 
What doth the earth but bear us and nourish us, 
and the beasts but serve us with their labors and 



320 



A CALL TO 



lives, and so of the rest ? And hath God made so 
glorious a habitation, and set man to dwell in it, and 
made all his servants ; and now doth he look for 
nothing at his hands, nor care how he thinks, or 
speaks, or lives ? This is most unreasonable. 

Objection 9. It was a better world when men did 
not make so much ado in religion. 

Answer 1. It hath ever been the custom to praise 
the times past; that world that you speak of was 
wont to say it was a better world in their forefathers' 
days ; and so did they of their forefathers. This is 
but an old custom, because we all feel the evil of our 
own times, but we see not that which was before us. 

2. Perhaps you speak as you think. Worldlings 
think the world is at the best when it is agreeable 
to their minds, and when they have most mirth and 
worldly pleasure ; and I doubt not but the devil, 
as well as you, would say that then it was a better 
world ; for then he had more service and less dis- 
turbance. But the world is at the best when God 
is most loved, regarded, and obeyed ; and how else 
will you know when the world is good or bad, but 
by this ? 

Objection 10. There are so many ways and re- 
ligions, that we know not which to be of, and there- 
fore we will be even as we are. 

Answer. Because there are many, will you, be of 
that way that you may be sure is wrong ? None 
are further out of the way than worldly, fleshly, un- 



THE UNCONVEKTED. 



121 



converted sinners ; for they do not only err in this 
or that opinion, as many sects do, but in the very 
scope and drift of their lives. If you were going 
a journey that your life lay on, would you stop or 
turn again because you met with some crossways, 
or because you saw some travellers go the horse- 
way, and some the foot-way, and some perhaps 
break over the hedge, yea, and some miss the way ? 
Or would you not rather be the more careful to 
inquire the way ? If you have some servants that 
know not how to do your work right, and some that 
are unfaithful, would you take it wel 1 . of any of the 
rest that would therefore be idle and do you no ser- 
vice, because they see their companions so bad ? 

Objection 11. I do not see that it goes any bet- 
ter with those that are so godly, than with other 
men ; they are as poor and in as much trouble as 
others. 

Answer. And perhaps in much more, when God 
sees it meet. They take not earthly prosperity for 
their wages ; they have laid up their treasure and 
hopes in another world, or else they are not Chris- 
tians indeed ; the less they have, the more is behind, 
and they are content to wait till then. 

Objection 12. "When you have said all that you 
can, I am resolved to hope well, andr trust in God, 
and do as well as I can, and not make so much ado. 

Answer 1. Is that doing as well as you can, when 
you will not turn to God, but your heart is against 



A CALL TO 



his hoiy and diligent service ? It is as well as you 
will, indeed, but that is your misery. 

2. My desire is, that yon should hope and trust 
in God. But for what is it that you will hope ? Is 
it to be saved, if you turn and be sanctified ? For 
this you have God's promise, and therefore I say, 
hope for it, and spare not. But if you hope to be 
saved without conversion and a holy life, this is not 
to hope in God, but in Satan, or yourselves ; for 
God hath given you no such promise, but told you 
the contrary ; but it is Satan and self-love that made 
you such promises, and raised you to such hopes. 

Well, if these objections and such as these, be all 
you have to say against conversion and a holy life, 
your all is nothing, and worse than nothing ; and if 
these, and such as these, seem reasons sufficient to 
persuade you to forsake God and cast yourselves 
into hell, the Lord deliver you from such reasons, 
and from such blind understandings, and from such 
senseless, hardened hearts. Dare you stand to aver 
one of these reasons at the bar of God ? Do you 
think it will then serve your turn to say, " Lord, I 
did not turn, because I had so much to do in the 
world, or because I did not like the lives of some pro- 
fessors, or because I saw men of so many minds 
0 how easily will the light of that day confound 
and shame such reasonings as these ! Had you the 
world to look after ? Let the world which you 
served now pay you your wages, and save you if it 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



bin. Had you not a better world to look after first, 
and were you not commanded to seek first God's 
kingdom and righteousness, and promised that other 
things should be added to you ? Matt. 6:33. And 
were you not told that godliness is profitable to all 
things, having the promise of this life and that which 
is to come ? 1 Tim. -4:8. Did the sins of professors 
hinder you ? You should rather have been the more 
heedful, and learned by their falls to beware, and 
have been the more careful, and not the more care- 
less. It was the Scripture, and not their lives, that 
was- your rule. Did the many opinions of the world 
hinder you ? "Why, the Scripture that was your rule 
did teach you but one way, and that was the right 
way. If you had followed that, even in so much 
as was plain and easy, you would never have mis- 
carried. "Will not such answers as these confound 
and silence you ? If these will not, God hath those 
that will. When he asked the man, " Friend, how 
earnest thou in hither, not having on a wedding grar- 
ment ?" Matt. 22:12, that is, what doest thou in my 
church among professed Christians, without a holy 
heart and life — what answer did he make ? Why, 
the text saith, " he was speechless ;" he had nothing 
to say. The clearness of the case and the majesty 
of God will then easily stop the mouths of the most 
confident of you, though you will not be put down 
by any thing we can say to you now, but will make 
good your cause, be it ever so bad. I know already 



124 



A CALL TO 



that never a reason that now you can give me m& 
do you any good at last, when your case must be 
opened before the Lord, and all the world. 

Nay, I scarce think that your own consciences are 
well satisfied with your reasons ; for if they are, it 
.seems, then, you have not so much as a purpose to 
repent. But if you do purpose to repent, it seems 
you do not put much confidence in the reasons which 
you bring against it. 

What say you, unconverted sinners ? Have you 
any good reasons to give why you should not turn, 
and presently turn with all your hearts ? Or will 
you go to hell in despite of reason itself ? Bethink 
you what you do in time, for it will shortly be too 
late to bethink you. Can you find any fault with 
God, or his work, or wages ? Is he a bad master ? 
Is the devil, whom you serve, a better? or is the 
flesh a better ? Is there any harm in a holy life ? 
Is a life of worldlmess and ungodliness better ? Do 
you think in your consciences that it would do you 
any harm to be converted and live a holy life ? What 
harm can it do you ? Is it harm to you to have the 
Spirit of Christ within you, and to have a cleansed, 
purified heart ? If it be bad to be holy, why doth 
God say, "Be ye holy, for I am holy?" 1 Pet. 
1 : 15, 16 ; Lev. 20 : 7. Is it evil to be like God ? 
Is it not said that God made man in his own image ? 
Why, this holiness is his image ; this Adam lost, and 
this Christ by his word and Spirit would restore to 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



125 



you, as he doth to all that he will save. How is it 
that men are baptized into the Holy Ghost as their 
Sanctifier, and yet you will not be sanctified by him, 
but think it a hurt to you to be sanctified ? Tell me 
truly, as before the Lord, though you are loath to 
live a holy life, had you not rather die in the case 
of those that do so, than of others ? If you were 
to die this day, had you not rather die in the case 
of a converted man than of an unconverted ? of a 
holy and heavenly man than of a carnal, earthly 
man? and would you not say as Balaam, "Let me 
die the death of the righteous, and let my last end 
be like his ?" Numb. 23 : 10. And why will you 
not now be of the mind that you will be of then ? 
First or last you must come to this, either to be con- 
verted, or to wish you had been, when it is too late. 

But what is it that you are afraid of losing, if you 
turn? Is it your friends? You will but change 
them ; God will be your Friend, and Christ and the 
Spirit will be your Friend ; and every Christian will 
be your friend. You will get one Friend that will 
stand you in more stead than all the friends in the 
world could have done. The friends you lose would 
have but enticed you to hell, but could not have 
delivered you : but the Friend you get will save you 
from hell, and bring you to his own eternal rest. 

Is it your pleasures that you are afraid of losing ? 
You think you shall never have a merry day again 
if once you be converted. Alas ! that you should 



A CALL TO 



think it a greater pleasure to live in foolish sports 
and merriments, and please your flesh, than to live 
in the believing thoughts of glory, and in the love 
of God, and in righteousness, and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost, in which the state of grace consist- 
eth. Rom. 14:17. If it would be a greater pleas- 
ure for you to think of your lands and inheritance, 
if you were lord of all the country, than it is for a 
child to play at pins, why should it not be a greatei 
joy to you to think of the kingdom of heaven being 
yours, than all the riches or pleasures of the world ? 
As it is but foolish childishness that makes children 
so delight in toys that thev would not leave them 
for all your lands, so it is but foolish worldliness, 
and neshliness, and wickedness, that makes you so 
much delight in your houses and lands, and meat 
and drink, and ease and honor, as that you would 
not part with them for the heavenly delights. But 
what will you do for pleasure when these are gone ? 
Do you not think of that ? When your pleasures 
end in horror, and go out like a taper, the pleasures 
of the saints are then the highest, I have had my- 
self but a littlp taste of the heavenly pleasures in 
the forethoughts of the blessed approaching day, 
and in the present persuasions of the love of God 
in Christ ; but I have taken too deep a draught of 
earthly pleasures : so that you may see, if I be par- 
tial, it is on your side ; and yet I must profess, from 
that little experience, that there is no comparison. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



127 



There is more joy to be had in a day, if the sun of 
life shine clear upon us, in the state of holiness, than 
in a whole life of sinful pleasures. " I had rather 
be a door-keeper in the house of God than to dwell 
in the tents of wickedness." Psalm 84 : 10. " A 
day in his courts is better than a thousand" any 
where else. The mirth of the wicked is like the 
laughter of a madman, that knows not his own mis- 
ery ; and therefore Solomon says of such laughter, 
"it is mad ; and of mirth, what doeth it ?" " It is 
better to go to the house of mourning than to go to 
the house of feasting ; for that is the end of all men, 
and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is 
better than laughter; for by the sadness of the 
countenance the heart is made better. The heart 
of the wise is in the house of mourning ; but the 
heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better 
to bear the rebuke of the wise, than to hear the 
song of fools ; for as the crackling of thorns under 
a pot, so is the laughter of the fool." Eccles. 2:2; 
7 : 2-6. Your loudest laughter is but like that of a 
man that is tickled ; he laughs when he has no cause 
of joy. Judge, as you are men, whether this be a 
wise man's part. It is but your carnal, unsanctified' 
nature that makes a holy life seem grievous to you, 
and a course of sensuality seem more delightful. If 
you will but turn, the Holy Ghost will give you an- 
other nature and inclination, and then it will be more 
pleasant to you to be rid of your sin, than now it is 



A CALL TO 



to keep it ; and you Tvill then say, that you knew not 
what a comfortable life was till now, and that it was 
never well with you till God and holiness were your 
delight. 

Question. But how cometh it to pass that men 
should be so unreasonable in the matters of salva- 
tion ? They have sense enough in other matters : 
what makes them so loath to be converted that there 
should need so many words in so plain a case, and 
all will not do, but the most will live and die uncon- 
verted ? 

Axswzn. To name then: only in a few words, the 
causes are these : 

1. Men are naturally hi love with the earth and 
rlesh ; they are born sinners, and their nature hath 
an enmity to God and godliness, as the nature of a 
serpent hath to a man : and when all that we can 
say goes against an habitual inclination of their na- 
tures, no marvel if it prevail little. 

2. They are in darkness, and know not the very 
things they hear. Like a man that was bom blind, 
and hears a high commendation of the light ; but 
what will hearing do unless he Sees it ? They know 
not what God is. nor what is the power of the cross 
of Christ, nor what the Spirit of holiness is, nor what 
t is to live in love by faith : they know not the cer- 
tainty, and suitableness, and excellency of the heav- 
enly inheritance. They know not what conversion 
and a holy mind and conversation is. even when they 



THE UNCONVERTED 



hear of it. They are in a mist of ignorance. They 
are lost and bewildered in sin ; like a man that has 
lost himself in the night, and knows not where he 
is, nor how to come to himself again, till the day- 
light recover him. 

3. They are wilfully confident that they need no 
conversion, but only some partial amendment, and 
that they are in the way to heaven already, and are 
converted when they are not. And if you meet a 
man that is quite out of his way, you may long 
enough call on him to turn back again, if he will 
not believe that he is out of the way. 

4. They are become slaves to their flesh, and 
drowned in the world, to make provision for it. 
Their lusts, and passions, and appetites have dis- 
tracted them, and got such power over them that 
they cannot tell how to deny them, or how to mind 
any thing else ; so that the drunkard saith, I love a 
cup of good drink, and I cannot forbear ; the glut- 
ton saith, I love good cheer, and I cannot forbear ; 
the fornicator saith, I love to have my lust fulfilled, 
and I cannot forbear; and the gamester loves to 
have his sports, and he cannot forbear. So that 
they are become even captivated slaves to their 
flesh, and their very wilfulness is become an inipo- 
tency ; and what they would not do, they say they 
cannot. And the worldling is so taken up with 
earthly things, that he hath neither heart, nor mind, 
nor time for heavenly ; but, as in Pharaoh's dream, 

B< Ceil. 9 



ISO 



A CALL TO 



Gen. 41 : 4, the lean kine did eat up the fat ones, 
so this lean and barren earth doth eat up all the 
thoughts of heaven. 

5. Some are so carried away by the stream of 
evil company, that they are possessed with hard 
thoughts of a godly life, by hearing them speak 
against it ; or at least they think they may venture 
to do as they see most do, and so they hold on in 
their sinful ways ; and when one is cut off and cast 
into hell, and another snatched away from among 
them to the same condemnation, it doth not much 
daunt them, because they see not whither they are 
gone. Poor wretches, they hold on in their ungod- 
liness for all this ; for they little know that their 
companions are now lamenting it in torments. In 
Luke 16, the rich man in hell would fain have had 
one to warn his five brethren, lest they should come 
to that place of torment. It is likely he knew their 
minds and lives, and knew that they were hasting 
thither, and little dreamed that he was there, yea, 
and would little have believed one that should have 
told them so. 

I remember an occurrence that a gentleman, yet 
living, told me he saw upon a bridge over the Sev- 
ern.* A man was driving a flock of fat lambs, and 
something meeting them and hindering their passage, 
one of the lambs leaped upon the wall of the bridge, 
and his legs slipping he fell into the stream ; and the 

* Mr. R. Rowly, of Shrewsbury, upon Acham-Bridge. 



THE UNCONTESTED. 



131 



rest seeing him, did, one after another, leap over the 
bridge into the stream, till all or almost all were 
drowned. Those that were behind little knew what 
was become of them that were gone before, but 
thought they might venture to follow their compan- 
ions ; but as soon as ever they were over the wall, 
and falling headlong, the case was altered. Even 
so it is with unconverted, carnal men. One dieth 
by them and drops into hell, and another follows the 
same way ; and yet they will go after them, because 
they think not whither they are going. 0, but when 
death hath once opened their eyes, and they see 
what is on the other side of the wall, even in another 
world, then what would they give to be where they 
were ! 

6. Moreover, they have a subtle, malicious enemy, 
that is unseen of them, and plays his game in the 
dark ; and it is his principal business to hinder their 
conversion ; and therefore to keep them where they 
are, by persuading them not to believe the Scriptures, 
or not to trouble their minds with these matters ; or 
by persuading them to think ill of a godly life, or 
to think that more is enjoined than need be, and 
that they may be saved without conversion, and 
without all this stir ; and that God is so merciful 
that he will not damn any such as they ; or at least, 
that they may stay a little longer, and take their 
pleasure, and follow the world a little longer yet, 
and then let it go, and repent hereafter. And by 



132 



A CALL TO 



such juggling, deluding cheats as these, the devil 
keeps the most in his captivity, and leadeth them to 
his misery. 

These, and such like impediments as these, do 
•keep so many thousands unconverted, when God 
hath done so much, and Christ hath suffered so 
much, and ministers have said so much for their 
conversion. When their reasons are silenced and 
they are not able to answer the Lord that calls after 
them, P Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ?" yet all 
comes to nothing with the greatest part of them ; 
and they leave us no more to do, after all, but to sit 
down and lament their wilful misery. 

I have now showed you the reasonableness of 
God's commands, and the unreasonableness of wick- 
ed men's disobedience. If nothing will serve to per- 
suade them, but men will yet refuse to turn, we are 
next to consider who is in fault if they be damned. 
And this brings me to the last doctrine ; which is, 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



133 



DOCTRINE VII, 

That if after all this men will not turn, it is not the fault of 
God that they are condemned, but their own, even their own 
wilfulness. They die because they will, that is, because they 
will not turn. 

If you will go to hell, what remedy ? God here 
acquits himself of your hlood ; it shall not He on 
him if you be lost. A negligent minister may draw 
it upon him ; and those that encourage you or hin- 
der you not in sin, may draw it upon them ; but be 
sure of it, it shall not lie upon God. Saith the 
Lord, concerning his unprofitable vineyard, " Judge, 
I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard : what could 
have been done more to my vineyard that I have not 
done in it?" Isa. 5:1-4. When he had planted 
it in a fruitful soil, and fenced it, and gathered out 
the stones, and planted it with the choicest vines, 
what should he have done more to it? He hath 
made you men, and endowed you with reason ; he 
hath furnished you with all external necessaries ; all 
creatures are at your service ; he hath given you a 
righteous, perfect law. When you had broken it and 
undone yourselves, he had pity on you, and sent his 
Son by a miracle of condescending mercy to die for 
you, and be a sacrifice for your sins ; and he was in 
Christ reconciling the world to himself ! 

The Lord Jesus hath made you a deed of gift of 



134 



A CALL TO 



himself, and eternal life with him, on the condition 

you will but accept it, and return. He hath on this 
reasonable condition offered you the free pardon of 
all your sins ! he hath written this in his word, and 
sealed it by his Spirit, and sent it by his ministers : 
they haye made the offer to you a hundred and a 
hundred times, and called you to accept it, and to 
turn to God. They have in his name entreated you, 
and reasoned the case with you, and answered all 
your frivolous objections. He hath long waited on 
you, and stayed your leisure, and suffered you to 
abuse him to his face ! He hath mercifully sustained 
you in the midst of your sins ; he hath compassed 
you about with all sorts of mercies ; he hath also 
inteimixed afflictions, to remind you of your folly 
and call you to your senses, and his Spirit has been 
often striving with your hearts, saying, " Turn, sin- 
ner, turn to him that calleth thee. "Whither art 
thou going ? What art thou doing; ? Dost thou 
know what will be the end ? How long wilt thou 
hate thy friends and love thine enemies ? When 
wilt thou let go all, and turn and deliver up thyself 
to God, and give thy Redeemer the possession of 
thy soul ? When shall it once be ?" These plead- 
ings have been used with thee, and when thou hast 
delayed, thou hast been urged to make haste, and 
God hath called to thee, "To-day, while it is called 
to-day, harden not thy heart." W 7 hy not listen now 
without any more delay ? 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



135 



Life hath been set before you ; the joys of heaven 
nave been opened to you in the Gospel; the cer- 
tainty of them hath been manifested ; the certainty 
of the everlasting torments of the damned hath been 
declared to you — -unless you would have had a sight 
of heaven and hell, what could you desire more ? 
Christ hath been, as it were, set forth crucified be- 
fore your eyes. Gal. 3:1. You have been a hun- 
dred times told that you are but lost men till you 
come unto him ; as often you have been told of the 
evil of sin, of the vanity of sin, the world, and all 
the pleasures and wealth it can afford ; of the short- 
ness and uncertainty of your lives, and the endless 
duration of the joy or torment of the life to come. 
All this, and more than this have you been told, and 
told again, even till you were weary of hearing it, 
and till you could make the lighter of it, because 
you had so often heard it, like the smith's dog, that 
is brought by custom to sleep under the noise of the 
hammers and when the sparks fly about his ears ; 
and though all this have not converted you, yet you 
are alive, and might have mercy to this day, if you 
had but hearts to entertain it. And now let reason 
itself be the judge, whether it be the fault of God, 
or of yourselves, if after all this you will be uncon- 
verted and be damned. If you die now, it is be- 
cause you will die. 

What should be said more to you, or what course 
should be taken that is more likely to prevail ? Are 



136 



A CALL TO 



you able to say, and make it good, " Yv r e would fain 
have been converted and become new creatures, but 
we could not ; we would fain have forsaken our sins, 
but we could not ; we would have changed our 
company, and our thoughts, and our discourse, but 
we could not.". Why could you not if you would ? 
What hindered you but the wickedness of your 
hearts ? Who forced you to sin, or who held you 
back from duty ? Had not you the same teaching, 
and time, and liberty to be godly, as your godly 
neighbors had ? Why then could not you have been 
godly as well as they? Were the church-doors 
shut against you, or did you not keep away your- 
selves, or sit and sleep, or hear as if you did not 
hear ? Did God put in any exceptions against you 
in his word, when he invited sinners to return ; and 
when he promised mercy to those that do return ? 
Did he say, " I will pardon all that repent except 
thee?" Did he shut thee out from the liberty of 
his holy worship ? Did he forbid you to pray to 
him any more than others ? You know he did not, 
God did not drive you away from him, but you for- 
sook him, and ran away yourselves, and when he 
called you to him, you would not come. 

If God had excepted you out of the general 
promise and offer of mercy, or had said to you, 
"Stand off, I will have nothing to do with such as 
you ; pray not to me, for I will not hear you ; if you 
repent never so much, and cry for mercy never so 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



137 



much, I will not regard you" — if God had left you 
nothing to trust to but desperation, then you had a 
fair excuse ; you might hare said, " To what end 
should I repent and turn, when it will do no good ?" 
But this was not your case : you might have had 
Christ to be your Lord and Saviour, your head and 
husband, as well as others, and you would not, be- 
cause you felt yourselves not sick enough for the 
physician ; and because you could not spare your 
disease. In your hearts you said as those rebels, 
Luke 19 : 14, "We will not have this man to reign 
over us." Christ would have gathered you under 
the wings of his salvation, and you would not. 
Matt. 23 : 37. What desires of your welfare did 
the Lord express in his holy word ! With what 
compassion did he stand over you and say, "0 that 
my people had hearkened unto me, and that they 
had walked in my ways !" Psalm 81 : 13. " 0 that 
there were such a heart in this people, that they 
would fear me, and keep all my commandments al- 
ways, that it might be well with them and with their 
children for ever!" Deut. 5:29. "0 that they 
were wise, that they understood this, that they 
would consider their latter end." Deut. 32 : 29. 
He would have been your God, and done all for you 
that your souls could well desire ; but you loved the 
world and your flesh above him, and therefore you 
would not hearken to him, though you compliment- 
ed him, and gave him high titles ; yet when it came 



138 



A CALL TO 



to the closing, you would have none of him. Psalm 
81 : 11, 12. No marvel, then, if he gave you up to 
your own hearts' lusts, and you walked in your own 
counsels. 

He condescends to reason, and pleads the case 
with you, and asks you, "What is there in me, or 
my service, that you should be so much against me ? 
What harm have I done thee, sinner? Have I de- 
served this unkind dealing at thy hand? Many 
mercies have I showed thee : for which of them dost 
thou thus despise me? Is it I, or is it Satan that is 
thy enemy ? Is it I, or is it thy carnal self that 
would undo thee ? Is it a holy life, or a life of sin, 
that thou hast cause to fly from? If thou be un- 
done, thou procurest this to thyself, by forsaking 
me, the Lord that would have saved thee." Jer. 
2:17. " Doth not thy own wickedness correct thee, 
and thy sin reprove thee ? Thou mayest see that 
it is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken 
me." Jer. 2:19. " What iniquity have you found 
in me that you have followed after vanity, and for- 
saken me?" Jer. 2:5, 6. He calleth out, as it 
were, to the brutes, to hear the controversy he hath 
against you. "Hear, O ye mountains, the Lord's 
controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth ; 
for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and 
he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have 
I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee ? 
testify against me, for I brought thee up out of 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



139 



Egypt,, and redeemed thee." Micah 6 : 2, 3. " Hear, 
O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for the Lord hath 
spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, 
and they have rebelled against me. The ox know- 
eth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; but 
Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider! 
Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a 
seed of evil- doers !" etc. Isaiah 1 : 2, 4. " Do you 
thus requite the Lord, 0 foolish people and unwise ? 
Is not he thy Father that bought thee ? Hath he 
not made thee, and established thee ?" Deut. 32 : 6. 
When he saw that you forsook him, even for noth- 
ing, and turned away from the Lord of life to hunt 
after the chaff and feathers of the world, he told 
you of your folly, and called you to a more profit- 
able employment, Isaiah 55 : 2-7. "Wherefore do 
you spend your money for that which is not bread, 
and your labor for that which satisfieth not ? Heark- 
en diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is 
good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. In- 
cline your ear, and come unto me ; hear, and your 
soul shall live ; and I will make an everlasting cov- 
enant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found : call ye 
upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake 
his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and 
let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mer- 
cy upon him ; and to our God, for he will abundant- 
ly pardon." Isa. 55 : 2~ 7 ; and so chap, 1 : 16-18. 



140 



A CALL TO 



And when you would not hear, what complaints 

have you caused him to bring against you ! charg- 
ing it on you as your wilfulness and stubbornness. 
"Be astonished, 0 heavens, at this, and be horribly 
afraid ; for my people have committed two evils : 
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, 
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that 
can hold no water." Jer. 2 : 12, 13. Many a time 
hath Christ proclaimed that free invitation to yon, 
" Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, 
let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22 : 17. 
But you put him to complain, after all his offers, 
" They will not come to me, that they may have 
life." John 5 : 40. He hath invited you to feast 
with him in the kingdom of his grace, and you have 
had excuses from your grounds, and your cattle, 
and your worldly business ; and when you would 
not come, you have said you could not, and pro- 
voked him to resolve that you should never taste of 
his supper. Luke 14: 16-25. And who is it the 
fault of now but yourselves ? and what can you say 
is the chief cause of your damnation but your own 
wills ? you wou^d be damned. The whole case is 
laid open by Christ himself. " Wisdom crieth with- 
out, she uttereth her voice in the streets ; she crieth 
in the chief place of concourse — How long, ye sim- 
ple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners 
delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge ? 
Turn ye at my reproof. Behold. I will pour out my 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



141 



Spirit upon you, I will make known my words unto 
you. Because I have called, and ye refused ; I have 
stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; but 
ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would 
none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your ca- 
lamity, I will mock when your fear cometh ; when 
your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruc- 
tion cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and an- 
guish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon 
me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me ear- 
ly, but they shall not find me ; for that they hated 
knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 
They would none of my counsel ; they despised all 
my reproof ; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of 
their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, 
and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But 
whoso hearkeneth to me shall dwell safely, and shall 
be quiet from the fear of 'evil." Prov. 1 : 20-33. I 
thought best to recite the whole text at large to 
you, because it doth so fully show the cause of the 
destruction of the wicked. It is not because God 
would not teach them, but because they would not 
learn. It is not because God would not call them, 
but because they would not turn at his reproof. 
Their wilfulness is their undoing. 

From what hath been said, you may further learn 
these following things : 



14Q 



A CALL TO 



1. From hence you may see not only what blas- 
phemy and impiety it is to lay the blame of men's 
destruction upon God, but also how unfit these wick- 
ed wretches are to bring in such a charge against 
their Maker ! They cry out upon God, and say 
that he gives them no grace, and that his threaten-, 
ings are severe, and that it is unreasonable that all 
should be condemned who are not converted and 
sanctified ; and they think it hard measure that a 
short sin should have an endless suffering ; and if 
they be damned they say they cannot help it, when 
in the meantime they are bringing about their own 
destruction, even the destruction of their own souls, 
and will not be persuaded to hold their hands. 
They think God were cruel if he should condemn 
them, and yet they are so cruel to themselves that 
they will run into the fire of hell, when God hath 
told them it is but a little before them ; and neither 
entreaties nor threatenings, nor any thing that can 
be said, will stop them. 

We see them almost undone ; their careless, world- 
ly, fleshly lives tell us that they are in the power of 
the devil ; we know, if they die before they are con- 
verted, all the world cannot save them ; and knowing 
the uncertainty of their fives, we are afraid every 
day lest they drop into the fire ; and therefore we 
entreat them to pity their own souls, and not to 
undo themselves when mercy is at hand, but they 
will not hear us. We entreat them to cast away 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



H3 



their sin, and come to Christ without delay, and to 
have some mercy on themselves, but they will have 
none; and yet they think that God must be cruel if 
he condemn them. 

0 wilful, miserable sinners ! it is not God that is 
cruel to you, it is you that are cruel to yourselves ; 
you are told you must turn or burn, and yet you 
turn not. You are told that if you will needs keep 
your sins, you shall keep the curse of God with 
them, and yet you will keep them. You are told 
that there is no way to happiness but by holiness, 
and yet you will not be holy. What would yon 
have God say more to you ? "What would you have 
him do with his mercy ? He offereth it to you, 
and you' will not have it. You are in the ditch of 
sin and misery, and he would give you his hand to 
help you out, and you refuse his help ; he would 
cleanse you of your sins, and you had rather keep 
them ; you love your lust, and love your gluttony, 
and sports, and drankenness, and will not let them 
go. Would you have Mm bring you to heaven 
whether you will or not ? Or would you have him 
bring you and your sins to heaven together ? That 
is an impossibility ; you may as well expect he should 
turn the sun into darkness. What ! an unsanctified 
fleshly heart be in heaven ! it cannot be. There 
entereth into it nothing that is unclean. Rev. 
21 : 27. "For what communion hath light with 
darkness, or Christ with Belial ?" " All the day long 



144 



A CALL TO 



hath he stretched out his hands to a disobedient 
and gainsaying people." 2 Cor. 6 : 14, 15 ; Rom. 
10: 21. 

What will you do now ? Will you cry to God 
for mercy ? Why, God calleth upon you to have 
mercy upon yourselves, and you will not ? Ministers 
see the poisoned cup in the drunkard's hand, and 
tell him there is poison in it, and desire him to have 
mercy on his soul, and forbear, and he will not hear 
us ! Drink it he must and will ; he loves it, and 
therefore, though hell comes next, he saith he can- 
not help it. What should one say to such men as 
these ? We tell the ungodly careless worldling, it is 
not such a life that will serve the turn, or ever bring 
you to heaven. If a lion were at your back you 
would mend your pace ; and when the curse of God 
is at your back, and Satan and hell are at your back, 
will you not stir, but ask, What need of all this ado ? 
Is an immortal soul of no more worth? O have 
mercy upon yourselves! But they will have no 
mercy on themselves, nor once regard us. We tell 
them the end will be bitter. Who can dwell with 
everlasting fire? And yet they will have no mercy 
on themselves. Still will these shameless transgres- 
sors say that God is more merciful than to condemn 
them, when it is themselves that cruelly and unmer- 
cifully run upon condemnation ; and if we should go 
to them and entreat them, we cannot stop them ; if 
we should fall on our knees tc them we cannot stop 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



145 



them, but to hell they will go, and yet will not be- 
lieve that they are going thither. 

If we beg of them, for the sake of God that made 
them, and preserveth them ; for the sake of Christ 
that died for them ; for the sake of their own souls, 
to pity themselves, and go no further in the way to 
hell, but come to Christ while his arms are open, 
and enter into the state of life while the door stands 
open, and now take mercy while mercy may be had, 
they will not be persuaded. If we should die for it, 
we cannot so much as get them now and then to 
consider with themselves of the matter, and turn ; 
and yet they can say, " I hope God will be mer- 
ciful." Did you never consider what he saith, Isa. 
27 : 11, "It is a people of no understanding : there- 
fore he that made them will not have mercy on 
them, and he that formed them will show them no 
favor." If another man will not clothe you when 
you are naked, and feed you when you are hungry, 
you will say he is unmerciful. If he should cast 
you into prison, or beat and torment you, you would 
say he is unmerciful: and yet you will do a thou- 
sand times more against yourselves, even cast away 
both soul and body for ever, and never complain of 
your own unmercifulness ! Yea, and God that wait- 
ed upon you all the while with his mercy, must be 
taken to be unmerciful, if he punish you after all 
ihis. Unless the holy God of heaven will give these 
ungodly men leave to trample upon his Son's blood, 

B. Call. IQ 



146 



A CALL TO 



and with the Jews, as it were, again to spit in his 
face, and do despite to the Spirit of grace, and make 
a jest of sin, and a mock at holiness, and set more 
light by saving mercy than by their fleshly pleas- 
ures ; and unless, after all this, he will save them 
by the mercy which they cast away, and would have 
none of, God himself must be called unmerciful by 
them ! But he will be justified when he judgeth, 
and he will not stand or fall at the bar of a sinful 
worm. 

I know there are many particular cavils that are 
brought by them against the Lord ; but I shall not 
here stay to answer them particularly, having done 
it already in my Treatise of Judgment, to which I 
shall refer them. Had the disputing part of the 
world been as careful to avoid sin and destruction as 
they have been busy in searching after the cause of 
them, and forward indirectly to impute them to God, 
they might have exercised their wits mora profit- 
ably, and have less wronged God, and sped better 
themselves. When so ugly a monster as sin is with- 
in us, and so heavy a thing as punishment is on us, 
and so dreadful a thing as hell is before us, one 
would think it would be an easy question who is in 
the fault ; whether God or man be the principal 
or culpable cause. Some men are such favorable 
judges of themselves, that they are more prone to 
accuse infinite perfection and goodness itself, than 
their own hearts, and imitate their first parents, who 



THE UNCONVERTED. 147 

said, " The serpent tempted me ; and the woman 
that thou gavest me g T ave unto me, and I did eat 
secretly implying that God "was the cause. So say 
they, The understanding that thou gavest me was 
unable to discern ; the will that thou gavest me was 
unable to make a better choice ; the objects which 
thou didst set before me did entice me ; the tempta- 
tions which thou didst permit to assault me prevail- 
ed against me." And some are so loath to think that 
God can make a self-determining creature, that they 
dare not deny him that which they take to be his 
prerogative, to be the determiner of the will in every 
sin, as the first efficient immediate physical cause ; 
and many could be content to acquit God from so 
much causing of evil, if they could but reconcile it 
with his being the chief cause of good ; as if truths 
would be no longer truths than we are able to see 
them in their perfect order and coherence : because 
our ravelled wits cannot set them right together, nor 
assign each truth its proper place, we presume to 
conclude that some must be cast away. This is the 
fruit of proud self-conceitedness, when men receive 
not God's truth as children, in holy submission to 
the omniscience of our Teacher, but as censurers 
that are too wise to learn. 

Objection. But we cannot convert ourselves till 
God convert us ; we can do nothing without his 
grace ; it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that 
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. 



148 



A CALL TO 



Answer. God hath two degrees of mercy to 
show : the mercy of conversion first, and the mercy 
of salvation last ; the latter he will give to none but 
those that will and run, and hath promised it to them 
only. The former is to make them willing that are 
wrwilling ; and though your own willingness and en- 
deavors deserve not his grace, yet your wilful refusal 
deserveth that it should be denied to you. Youi 
disability is your very unwillingness itself, which ex- 
cuseth not your sin, but maketh it the greater. You 
could turn if you were but truly willing ; and if your 
wills themselves are so corrupted that nothing but 
effectual grace will move them, you have the more 
cause to seek for that grace, and yield to it, and do 
what you can in the use of means, and not neglect 
it and set yourselves against it. Do what you are 
able first, and then complain of God for denying you 
grace, if you have cause. 

Objection. But you seem to intimate all this while 
that man hath free will. 

Answer. The dispute about free will is beyond 
your capacity; I shall therefore now trouble you 
with no more but this about it. Your will is natu- 
rally a free, that is, a self-determhiing faculty ; but 
it is viciously inclined, and backward to do good ; 
and therefore we see, by sad experience, that it hath 
not a virtuous moral freedom ; but this is the wick- 
edness of it which deserveth the punishment ; and 
[ pray you let us not befool ourselves with opinions. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 149 

Let the case be your own. If you had an enemy 
who was so malicious as to fall upon you, and beat 
you, or take away the lives of your children, would 
you excuse him because he said, I have not free will : 
it is my nature, I cannot choose unless God give me 
grace ? If you had a servant that robbed you, would 
you take such an answer from him ? Might not ev- 
ery thief and murderer that is hanged at the assize 
give such an answer : I have not free will ; I cannot 
change my own heart ; what can I do without God's 
grace ? and shall they therefore be acquitted ? If 
not, why then should you think to be acquitted for 
a course of sin against the Lord ? 

2. From hence also you may observe these three 
things together: 1. What a subtle tempter Satan 
is. 2. What a deceitful thing sin is. 3. What a fool- 
ish, corrupted creature man is. A subtle tempter, 
indeed, that can persuade the greatest part of the 
world to go into everlasting fire, when they have so 
many warnings and dissuasives as they have ! A 
deceitful thing is sin, indeed, that can bewitch so 
many thousands to part with everlasting life for a 
thing so base and utterly unworthy ! A foolish 
creature is man, indeed, that will be cheated of his 
salvation for nothing, yea, for a known nothing ; and 
that by an enemy, and a known enemy. You would 
think it impossible that any man in his senses should 
be persuaded for a trifle to cast himself into the fire, 
or water, or into a coal-pit, to the destruction of his 



150 



A CALL TO 



life ; and yet men will be enticed to cast themselves 
into hell. If your natural lives were in your own 
hand, that you should not die till you would kill 
yourselves, how long would most of you live ! And 
yet, when everlasting life is so far in your own hands, 
under God, that you cannot be undone till you undo 
yourselves, how few of you will forbear your own 
undoing ! Ah, what a silly thing is man ! and what 
a bewitching and befooling thing is sin ! 

3. From hence, also, you may learn, that it is no 
great wonder if wicked men be hinderers of others 
in the way to heaven, and would have as many un- 
converted as they can, and would draw them into 
sin, and keep them in it. Can you expect that they 
should have mercy on others, that have none upon 
themselves ? and that they should hesitate much at 
the destruction of others, that hesitate not to destroy 
themselves ? They do no worse by others than they 
do by themselves. 

4. Lastly : You may hence learn that the greatest 
enemy to man is himself ; and the greatest judgment 
in this life that can befall him, is to be left to him- 
self ; and that the great work that grace hath to do, 
is to save us from ourselves ; and that the greatest 
accusations and complaints of men should be against 
themselves ; and that the greatest work we have to 
do ourselves, is to resist ourselves ; and the greatest 
enemy that we should daily pray, and watch, and 
strive against, is our own carnal hearts and wills ; 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



and the greatest part of your work, if yon would 
do good to others, and help them to heaven, is to 
save them from themselves, even from their own 
blind understandings, and .corrupted wills, and per- 
verse affections, and violent passions, and unruly 
senses, I only name ail these for brevity's sake, and 
leave them to your further consideration. 

Well, sirs, now we have found out the great de- 
linquent and murderer of souls, even men's selves, 
their own wills, what remains but that you judge 
according to the evidence, and confess this great 
iniquity before the Lord, and be humbled for it, and 
do so no more ? To these three ends distinctly I 
shall add a few words more. 1. Further to con- 
vince you. 2. To humble you. And, 3. To reform 
you, if there yet be any hope. 

1. We know so much of the exceeding gracious 
nature of God, who is willing to do good, and de- 
lighteth to show mercy, that we have no reason to 
suspect him of being the culpable cause of our death, 
or to call him cruel : he made all good, and he pre- 
serveth and maintaineth all; the eyes of all wait 
upon him, and he giveth them their meat in due 
season ; he openeth his hand, and satisfieth the de- 
sires of all the living. Psalm 145 : 15, 16. He is 
not only righteous in all his ways, and therefore will 
deal justly ; and holy in all his works/and therefore 
not the author of sin ; but he is also good to all, and 



152 



A CALL TO 



his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 
145.: 11 > 19. 

But as for man, we know his mind is dark, his will 
perverse, and his affections carry him so headlong, 
that he is fitted by his folly and corruption to such 
a work as the destroying of himself. If you saw a 
lamb lie killed in the way, would you sooner suspect 
the sheep or the wolf to be the author of it, if they 
both stand by ? Or if you see a house broken open, 
and the people murdered, would you sooner suspect 
the prince or judge, that is wise and just, and had 
no need, or a known thief or murderer ? I say, 
therefore, as James, 1 : 13-15, "Let no man say, 
when he is tempted, that he is tempted of God ; for 
God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth 
he any man, (to draw him to sin ;) but every man is 
tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and 
enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it brincfeth 
forth sin ; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth 
death." You see here that sin is the offspring of 
your own concupiscence, and not to be charged on 
God ; and that death is the offspring of your own 
sin, and the fruit which it will yield you as soon as 
it is ripe. You have a treasure of evil in yourselves, 
as a spider hath of poison, from whence you are 
bringing forth hurt to yourselves, and spinning such 
webs as entangle your own souls. Your nature 
shows it is you that are the cause. 

2. It is evident that you are your own destroyers, 



THE UNCONVERTED, 



153 



in that you are so ready to entertain any temptation 
almost that is offered to you. Satan is scarcely more 
ready to move you to any evil, than you are ready 
to hear and to do as he would have you. If he 
would tempt your understanding to error and preju- 
dice, you yield. If he would hinder you from good 
resolutions, it is soon done. If he would cool any 
good desires or affections, it is soon done. If he 
would kindle any lust, or vile affections and desires 
in you, it is soon done. If he will put you on to 
evil thoughts, words, or deeds, you are so free that 
he needs no rod or spur. If he would keep you 
from holy thoughts, and words, and ways, a little 
does it, you need no curb. You examine not his 
suggestions, nor resist them with any resolution, nor 
cast them out as he casts them in, nor quench the 
sparks which he endeavoreth to kindle ; but you set 
in with him, and meet him half way, and embrace 
his motions, and tempt him to tempt you. And it 
is easy for him to catch such greedy fish that are 
ranoing for a bait, and will take the bare hook. 

3. Your destruction is evidently of yourselves, in 
that you resist all that would help to save .you, and 
would do you good, or hinder you from undoing 
yourselves. God would help and save you by his 
word, and you resist it ; it is too strict for you. He 
would sanctify you by his Spirit, and you resist and 
quench it. If any man reprove you for your sin, 
you fly in his face with evil words ; and if he would 



154 



A CALL TO 



draw you to a holy life, and tell you of present dan- 
ger, you give him little thanks, but either bid him 
look to himself, he will not have to answer for you ; 
or at best you put him off with heartless thanks, and 
will not turn when you are entreated. If ministers 
would privately instruct and help you, you will not 
come to them ; your unhumbled souls feel but little 
need of their help ; if they would teach you, you 
are too old to be taught, though you are not too old 
to be ignorant and unholy. "Whatever they can say 
to you for your good, you are so self-conceited and 
wise in your own eyes, even in the depth of igno- 
rance, that you will regard nothing that agreeth not 
with your present conceits, but contradict your teach- 
ers, as if you were wiser than they ; you resist all 
that they can say to you, by your ignorance, and 
wilfulness, and foolish cavils, and shifting evasions, 
and unthankful rejections, so that no good that is 
offered can find any welcome, or acceptance, or en- 
tertainment with you. 

4. Moreover, it is apparent that you are self-de- 
stroyers, in that you " draw the matter of your sin 
and destruction even from the blessed God himself." 
You like not the contrivances of his wisdom ; you 
like not his justice, but take it for cruelty ; you like 
not his holiness, but are ready to think he is such a 
one as yourselves, Psalm 50 : 21, and makes as light 
of sin as you do ; you like not his truth, but would 
have his threatenings, even his peremptory threat- 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



155 



enings prove false ; and his goodness, which you 
seem most highly to approve, you partly resist, as 
it would lead you to repentance ; and partly abuse, 
to the strengthening of your sin, as if you might 
more freely sin because God is merciful, and because 
his grace doth so much abound. 

5. Yea, you draw down destruction even from the 
blessed Redeemer, and death from the Lord of life 
himself ! and nothing more emboldeneth you in sin, 
than that Christ hath died for you ; as if now the 
danger of death were over, and you might boldly 
venture ; as if Christ were become a servant to Sa- 
tan and your sins, and must wait upon you while 
you are abusing him ; and because he is become the 
Physician of souls, and is able to save to the utter- 
most all that come to God by him, you think he 
must suffer you to refuse his help, and throw away 
his remedies, and must save you whether you will 
come to God by him or not : so that a great part of 
your sins are occasioned by your bold presumption 
upon the death of Christ, not considering that he 
came to redeem his people from their sins, and to 
sanctify them a peculiar people to himself, and to 
conform them in holiness to the image of their heav- 
enly Father, and to their head. Matt. 1:21; Tit. 
2:14; 1 Pet. 1 : 15, 16 ; Coloss. 3 : 10, 11 ; Phil. 
3 : 9, 10. 

6. You also draw your own destruction from all 
the providences and works of God. When you think 



156 



A CALL TO 



of his eternal foreknowledge and decrees, it is to 
harden you in your sin, or possess your minds with 
quarrelling thoughts, as if his decrees might spare 
you the labor of repentance and a holy life, or else 
were the cause of your sin and death. If he afflict 
you, you repine ; if he prosper you, you the more for- 
get him, and are the more backward to the thoughts 
of the life to come. If the wicked prosper, you for- 
get the end that will set all reckonings straight, and 
are ready to think it is as good to be wicked as godly ; 
and thus you draw your death from all. 

i. And you pervert to your ruin all the creatures 
and mercies of God to you. He giveth them to you 
as the tokens of his love and furniture for his ser- 
vice, and you turn them against him, to the pleasing 
of your flesh. You eat and drink to please your 
appetite, and not for the glory of God and to ena- 
ble you to perform his work. Your clothes you 
abuse to pride ; your riches draw your hearts from 
heaven, Phil. 3:18; your honors and applause puff 
you up ; if you have health and strength, it makes 
you more secure, and you forget your end. Yea, 
other men's mercies are abused by you to your hurt. 
If you see their honors and dignity, you are provoked 
to envy them ; if you see their riches, you are ready 
to covet them ; if you look upon beauty, you are 
stirred up to lust ; and it is well if godliness itself 
be not an eyesore to you. 

8. The very gifts that God bestoweth on you, 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



157 



and the ordinances of grace which he hath instituted 
for his church, you turn to sin. If you have better 
parts than others, you grow proud and self- conceit- 
ed ; if you have but common gifts, you take them 
for special grace. You take the bare hearing of 
your duty for so good a work, as if it would excuse 
you for not obeying it. Your prayers are turned into 
sin, because you "regard iniquity in your hearts," 
and depart not from iniquity when you call on the 
name of the Lord. Psalm 66 : 18; 2 Tim. 2 : 19. 
Your "prayers are abominable, because you turn 
away your ear from hearing the law," and are more 
ready to offer the sacrifice of fools, thinking you do 
God some special service, than to hear his word and 
obey it. Prov. 28 : 9 ; Eccles. 5:1. 

9. Yea, the persons that you converse with, and 
all their actions, you make the occasions of your sin 
and destruction. If they live in the fear of God, 
you hate them. If they live ungodly, you imitate 
them ; if the wicked are many, you think you may 
the more boldly follow them ; if the godly be few, 
you are the more emboldened to despise them. If 
they walk exactly, you think they are too precise ; 
if one of them fall in a particular temptation, you 
stumble and turn away from holiness because others 
are imperfectly holy ; as if you were warranted to 
break your necks because some others have, by their 
heedlessness, sprained a sinew or put out a bone. 
If a hypocrite discover himself, you say, " They are 



158 



A CALL TO 



all alike," and think yourselves as honest as the 
best. A professor can scarce slip into any miscar- 
riage, but because he cuts his finger you think you 
may boldly cut your throats. If ministers deal 
plainly with you, you say they rail. If they speak 
gently or coldly, you either sleep under them, or are 
little more affected than the seats you sit upon. If 
any errors creep into the church, some greedily en- 
tertain them, and others reproach the Christian doc- 
trine for them, which is most against them. And if 
we would draw you from any ancient rooted error, 
which can but plead two, or three, or six, or seven 
hundred years' custom, you are as much offended 
with a motion for reformation as if you were to lose 
your life by it, and hold fast old errors, while you 
cry out against new ones. Scarce a difference can 
arise among the ministers of the Gospel but you 
will draw your own death from it ; and you will not 
hear, or at least not obey, the unquestionable doc- 
trine of any of those that agree not with your con- 
ceits. One will not hear a minister because he 
readeth his sermons ; another will not hear him be- 
cause he doth not read them. One will not hear him 
because he saith the Lord's prayer ; and another will 
not hear him because he doth not use it. One will 
not hear them that are for episcopacy ; and another 
will not hear them that are against it. And thus I 
might show you in many other cases, how you turn 
all that comes near you to your own destruction ; so 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



159 



clear is it that the ungodly are self- destroyers, and 
that their perdition is of themselves. 

Methinks now, upon the consideration of what is 
said, and the review of your own ways, you should 
bethink you what you have done, and be ashamed 
and deeply humbled to remember it. If you be not, 
I pray you consider these following truths : 

1. To be your own destroyers is to sin against 
the deepest principle in your natures, even the prin- 
ciple of self-preservation. Every thing naturally 
desireth or inclineth to its own felicity, welfare, or 
perfection ; and will you set yourselves to your own 
destruction? When you are commanded to love 
your neighbors as yourselves, it is supposed that 
you naturally love yourselves ; but if you love your 
neighbors no better than yourselves, it seems you 
would have all the world to be damned. 

2. How extremely do you cross your own inten- 
tions. I know you intend not your own damna- 
tion, even when you are procuring it ; you think 
you are but doing good to yourselves, by gratifying 
the desires of your flesh. But, alas, it is but as a 
draught of cold water in a burning fever, or as the 
scratching of an itching wildfire, which increaseth 
the disease and pain. If indeed you would have 
pleasure, profit, or honor, seek them where they are 
to be found, and do not hunt after them in the way 
to hell. 



160 



A CALL TO 



3. What pity is it that you should do that against 
yourselves which none else on earth or in hell can 
do ! If all the world were combined against you, 
or all the devils in hell were combined against you, 
they could not destroy you without yourselves, nor 
make you sin but by your own consent : and will 
you do that against yourselves which no one else can 
do? You have hateful thoughts of the devil, be- 
cause he is your enemy, and endeavoreth your de- 
struction ; and will you be worse than devils to your- 
selves ? Why, thus it is with you, if you had hearts 
to understand it : when you run into sin, and run 
from godliness, and refuse to turn at the call of 
God, you do more against your own souls than men 
or devils could do besides ; and if you should set 
yourselves and bend your wits to do yourselves the 
greatest mischief, you could not devise to do a 
greater. 

4. You are false to the trust that God hath re- 
posed in you. He hath much intrusted you with 
your own salvation ; and will you betray your trust ? 
He hath set you, with all diligence, to keep your 
hearts ; and is this the keeping of them ? Prov. 
4:23. 

5. You do even forbid all others to pity you, when 
you will have no pity on yourselves. If you cry to 
God in the day of your calamity for mercy, mercy ; 
what can you expect, but that he should thrust you 
away, and say, " ISTay, thou wouldst not have mercy 



THE UN CONVERTED. 



IGl 



on thyself : who brought this upon thee but thy 
own wilfulness 3" And if your brethren see you 
everlastingly in misery, how shall they pity you that 
were your own destroyers, and would not be dis- 
suaded ? 

6. It will everlastingly make you your own tor- 
mentors in hell, to think that you brought yourselves 
wilfully to that misery. 0 what a piercing thought 
it will be, for ever to think with yourselves that this 
was your own doing ; that you were warned of this 
day, and warned again, but it would not do ; that 
you wilfully sinned, and wilfully turned away from 
God ; that you had time as well as others, but you 
abused it ; you had teachers as well as others, but 
you refused their instruction ; you had holy exam- 
ples, but you did not imitate them ; you were offered 
Christ, and grace, and glory, as well as others, but 
you had more mind to your fleshly pleasures : you 
had a price in your hands, but you had not a heart 
to lay it out. Prov. 17 : 16. Can it fail to torment 
you to think of this your present folly? 0 that 
your eyes were open to see what you have done in 
the wilful wronging of your own souls ; and that 
you better understood these words of God, " Hear 
instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed 
is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my 
gates, waiting at the posts of my doors ; for whoso 
findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the 
Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongetb 

B. Call. 11 



162 



A CALL TO 



his own soul : all they that hate me love death." 
Pro v. 8 : 33-36. 

And now I am come to the conclusion of this 
work, my heart is troubled to think how I shall leave 
y ou. lest after this the flesh should still deceive you, 
and the world and the devil should keep you asleep, 
and I should leave you as I found you, till you 
awake in hell. Though in the case of your poor souls, 
I am afraid of this, as knowing the obstinacy of a 
carnal heart ; yet I can say with the prophet Jere- 
miah, " I have not desired the woful day, thou Lord 
knowest. ,, 17 : 16. I have not, with James and 
John, desired that k< fire might come from heaven " 
to consume them that refused Jesus Christ. Luke 
9 :54. But it is the preventing of the eternal fire 
that I have been all this while endeavoring : and 0 
that it had been a needless work! that God and 
conscience might have been as willing to spare me 
this labor as some of you could have been. Dear 
friends, I am so loath that you should lie in ever- 
lasting fire, and be shut out of heaven, if it be pos- 
sible to prevent it, that I shall once more ask you, 
What do you now resolve ? Will you turn, or die ? 
I look upon you as a physician on his patient in a 
dangerous disease, that saith to him, " Though you 
are far gone, take but this medicine, and forbear but 
these few things that are hurtful to you, and I dare 
warrant your life ; but if you will not do this you 



THE U N CONVERTED. 



163 



are but a dead man. ,, What would you think of 
such a man, if the physician, and all the friends he 
hath, cannot persuade him to take one medicine to 
save his life, or to forbear one or two poisonous 
things that would kill him ? This is your case. As 
far as you are gone in sin, do but now turn and come 
to Christ, and take his remedies, and your souls shall 
live. Cast up your deadly sins by repentance, and 
return not to the poisonous vomit any more, and you 
shall do well. But yet, if it were your bodies that 
we had to deal with, we might partly know what to 
do for you. Though you would not consent, yet 
you might be held or bound while the medicine was 
poured down your throats, and hurtful things might 
be kept from you. But about your souls it cannot 
be so ; we cannot convert you against your wills. 
There is no carrying madmen to heaven in fetters. 
You may be condemned against your wills, because 
you sinned with your wills ; but you cannot be 
saved against vour wills. The wisdom of God has 
thought meet to lay men's salvation or destruction 
exceeding much upon the choice of their own will, 
that no man shall come to heaven that chose not 
the way to heaven ; and no man shall come to hell, 
but shall be forced to say, " I have the thing I chose, 
mv own will did bring me hither." ISTow, if I could 

JO ' 

but get you to be willing, to be thoroughly, and re- 
solvedly, and habitually willing, the work were more 
than half done. And alas, must we lose our friends, 



i64 



A CALL TO 



and must they lose their God, their happiness, their 
souls, for want of this? 0 God forbid! It is a 
strange thing to me that men are so unnatural and 
stupid in the greatest matters, who in lesser things 
are civil and courteous, and good neighbors. 

For aught I know, I have the love of all, or al- 
most all my neighbors, so far, that if I should send 
to any man in the town, or parish, or county, and 
request a reasonable courtesy of them, they would 
grant it me ; and yet when I come to request of 
them the greatest matter in the world, for them- 
selves and not for me, I can have nothing of many 
of them but a patient hearing. I know not whether 
people think a man in the pulpit is in good earnest 
or not, and means as he speaks ; for I think I have 
few neighbors but if I were sitting familiarly with 
them, and telling them what I have seen and done, 
or known in the world, they would believe me and 
regard what I say ; but when I tell them from the 
infallible word of God, what they themselves shall 
see and know in the world to come, they show by 
their lives that they do either not believe it or not 
much regard it. If I met any one of them on the 
way, and told them yonder is a coal-pit, or there is 
a quicksand, or there are thieves lying in wait for 
you, I could persuade them to turn by ; but when 
I tell them that Satan lieth in wait for them, and 
that sin is poison to them, and that hell is not a 
matter to be jested with, they go on as if they did 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



165 



not hear me. Truly, neighbors, I am in as good 
earnest with you in the pulpit as I am in any famil- 
iar discourse ; and if ever you will regard me, I be- 
seech you let it be here. 

I think there is not a man of you all, but if my 
own soul lay at your wills, you would be willing to 
save it, though I cannot promise that you would 
leave your sins for it. Tell me, thou drunkard, art 
thou so cruel to me, that thou wouldst not forbear 
a few cups of drink, if thou knewest it would save 
my soul from hell ? Hadst thou rather that I did 
burn there for ever than thou shouldst live soberly 
as other men do ? If so, may I not say, thou art 
an unmerciful monster, and not a man ? If I came 
hungry or naked to one of your doors, would you 
not part with more than a cup of drink to relieve 
me ? I am confident you would. If it were to 
save my life, I know you would, some of you, haz- 
ard your own ; and yet will you not be entreated to 
part with your sensual pleasures for your own sal- 
vation ? Wouldst thou forbear a hundred cups of 
drink to save my life, if it were in thy power, and 
wilt thou not do it to save thy own soul ? I profess 
to you, sirs, I am as hearty a beggar with you this 
day for the saving of your own souls, as I would be 
for my own supply, if I were forced to come begging 
to your doors ; and therefore if you would hear me 
then, hear me now. If you would pity me then, be 
entreated now to pity yourselves. I do again be- 



166 



A CALL TO 



seech you, as if it were on my bended knees, that 
you would hearken to your Redeemer, and turn, that 
you may liv r e. 

All you that have lived in ignorance, and careless- 
ness, and presumption to this day ; all you that have 
been drowned in the cares of the world, and have 
no mind of God and eternal glory ; all you that are 
enslaved to your fleshly desires of meats and drinks, 
sports and lusts ; and all you that know not the ne- 
cessity of holiness, and never were acquainted with 
the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost upon your 
souls ; that never embraced your blessed Redeemer 
by a lively faith, and with admiring and thankful 
apprehensions of his love ; and that never felt a 
higher estimation of God and heaven, and a heartier 
love to them than to your fleshly prosperity, and the 
things below ; I earnestly beseech you, not only for 
my sake, but for the Lord's sake, and for your soul's 
sake, that you go not on one day longer in your for- 
mer condition, but look about you, and cry to God 
for converting grace, that you may be made new 
creatures, and may escape the plagues that are but 
a little before you. And if ever you will do any 
thing for me, grant me this request, to turn from 
your evil ways and live. Deny me any thing that 
ever I shall ask you for myself, if you will but grant 
me this ; and if you deny me this, I care not for 
any thing else that you would grant me. Naj, as 
ever you will do any thing at the request of the Lord 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



167 



that made you, and redeemed you, deny him not this ; 
for if you deny him this, he cares for nothing that you 
shall grant him. As ever you would have him hear 
your prayers, and grant your requests, and do for you 
at the hour of death and day of judgment, or in any 
of your extremities, deny not Ids request now in the 
day of your prosperity. 0 sirs, believe it, death and 
judgment, and heaven and hell, are other matters 
when you come near them, than they seem to carnal 
eyes afar off : then you would hear such a message as 
I bring you with more awakened, regardful hearts. 

Well, though I cannot hope so well of all, I will 
hope that some of you are by this time purposing to 
turn and live ; and that you are ready to ask me, as 
the Jews did Peter when they were pricked in their 
hearts and said, " Men and brethren, what shall we 
do ?" Acts 2 : 37. How may we come to be truly 
converted ? We are willing, if we did but know 
our duty. God forbid that we should choose de- 
struction by refusing conversion, as hitherto we have 
done. 

If these be the thoughts and purposes of your hearts, 
I say of you as God did of a promising people, Deut. 
5 : 28, 29, " They have well said all that they have 
spoken. 0 that there were such a heart in them, 
that they would fear me, and keep all my command- 
ments always !" Your purposes are good : 0 that 
there were but a heart in you to perform these pur- 
poses ! And in l?,ope hereof I shall gladly give you 



168 



A CALL TO 



direction what to do, and that but briefly, that you 
may the more easily remember it for your practice. 

Direction I. If you would be converted and saved, 
labor to understand the necessity and true nature of 
conversion ; for what, and from what, and to what, 
and by what it is that you must turn. 

Consider in what a lamentable condition you are 
till the hour of your conversion, that you may see it 
is not a state to be rested in. You are under the guilt 
of all the sins that ever you committed, and under 
the wrath of God and the curse of his law ; you are 
bondslaves to the devil, and daily employed hi his 
work against the Lord, yourselves, and others ; you 
are spiritually dead and deformed, as being devoid 
of the holy life, and nature, and image of the Lord. 
You are unfit for any holy work, and do nothing that 
is truly pleasing to God. You are without any promise 
or assurance of his protection, and live in continual 
danger of his justice, not knowing what hour you 
may be snatched away to hell, and most certain to 
be damned if you die in that condition ; and nothing 
short of conversion can prevent it. Whatever civil- 
ities, or amendments, or virtues are short of true con- 
version, will never procure the saving of your souls. 
Keep the true sense of this natural misery, and so of 
the necessity of conversion, on your hearts. 

And then you must understand what it is to be 
converted ; it is to have a new heart or disposition, 
and a new conversation. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



169 



1. Consider for what you must turn. For these 
ends following, which you may attain : 1 , You shall 
immediately be made hving members of Christ, and 
have an interest in him, and be renewed after the 
image of God. and be adorned with all his graces, and 
quickened with a new and heavenly life,, and saved 
from the tyranny of Satan and the dominion of sin, 
and be justified from the curse of the law. and have 
the pardon of all the sins of your whole lives, and be 
accepted of God. and made his sons, and have liberty 
with boldness to call him Father, and go to him by 
prayer in all your needs, with a promise of accept- 
ance ; you shall have the Holy Ghost to dwell in you, 
to sanctify and guide you : you shall have part in the 
brotherhood, communion, and prayers of the saints ; 
you shall be fitted for God ; s service, and be freed from 
the dominion of sin, and be useful, and a blessing to 
the place where you live ; and shall have the promise 
of this life, and that which is to come : you shall want 
notliing that is truly good for you, and your necessary 
afflictions you will be enabled to bear ; you may have 
some taste of communion with God in the Spirit, es- 
pecially in all holy ordinances, where God prepare th 
a feast for your souls ; you shall be heirs of heaven 
while you live on earth, and may foresee by faith the 
everlasting glory, and so may live, and die in peace : 
and you shall never be so low but your happiness will 
be mcomparably greater than your misery. 

How precious is every one of these blessings, which 



170 



A CALL TO 



I do but briefly name, and which in this life you may 
receive ! 

And then, 2. At death your souls shall go to Christ, 
and at the day of judgment both soul and body shall 
be justified and glorified, and enter into your Master's 
joy, where your happiness will consist in these par- 
ticulars : 

(1.) You shall be perfected yourselves : your mor- 
tal bodies shall be made immortal, and the corruptible 
shall put on incorruption ; you shall no more be hun- 
gry, or thirsty, or weary, or sick, nor shall you need to 
fear either shame, or sorrow, or death, or hell : your 
souls shall be perfectly freed from sin. and perfectly 
fitted for the knowledge, and love, and praises of the 
Lord. 

(2.) Your employment shall be to behold your 
glorified Redeemer, with all your holy fellow-citizens 
of heaven, and to see the glory of the most blessed 
God. and to love him perfectly, and be beloved by 
him. and to praise him everlastingly. 

(3.) Your glory will contribute to the glory of the 
new Jerusalem, the city of the 'living God, which is 
more than to have a private felicity to yourselves. 

(4.) Your glory will contribute to the glorifying of 
your Redeemer, who will everlastingly be magnified 
and pleased in you ihat are the travail of his soul, and 
this is more than the glorifying of yourselves. 

(o.) And the eternal Majesty, the living God, will 
be glorified in your glory, both as he is magnified by 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



171 



your praises, and as he communicateth of his glory 
and goodness to you, and as he is pleased in you, and 
in the accomplisliment of his glorious work, in the 
glory of the new Jerusalem, and of his Son. 

All this the poorest beggar of you that is converted 
shall certainly and endlessly enjoy. 

2. Next, you must understand from what you must 
turn ; and this is, in a word, from your carnal self, 
which is the end of all the unconverted ; from the 
flesh, that would be pleased before God, and would 
still be enticing you ; from the world, that is the 
bait ; and from the devil, that is the angler for souls, 
and the deceiver. And so from all known and wilful 
sins. 

3. Next, you must know to what you must turn ; 
and that is, to God. as your end ; to Christ, as the way 
to the Father ; to holiness, as the way appointed you 
by Christ ; and to the use of all the helps and means 
of grace afforded you by the Lord. 

4. Lastly, you must know by w/iat you must turn ; 
and that is by Christ, as the only Redeemer and In- 
tercessor ; and by the Holy Ghost, as the Sanctifler ; 
and by the word, as his instrument or means ; and 
by faith and repentance, as the means and duties on 
your part to be performed. All this is of necessity. 

Direction II. If you will be converted and saved, 
be much in secret serious consideration. Inconsider- 
ateness undoes the world. Withdraw yourselves oft 
into retired secresy, and there bethink you of the end 



172 



A CALL TO 



why you were made, of the life you have lived, of the 
time you have lost, the sins you have committed ; of 
the love, and sufferings, and fulness of Christ ; of the 
danger you are in ; of the nearness of death and judg- 
ment ; of the certainty and excellency of the joys of 
heaven, and of the certainty and terror of the tor- 
ments of hell, and the eternity of both ; and of the 
necessity of conversion and a holy life. Absorb your 
hearts hi such considerations a»s these. 

Direction III. If you will be converted and saved, 
attend upon the word of God, which is the ordinary 
means. Head the Scripture, or hear it read, and other 
holy writings that do apply it ; constantly attend on 
the public preaching of the word. As God will lighten 
the world by the sun, and not by himself without it, so 
will he convert and save men by his ministers, who are 
the lights of the world. Acts 26 : 17, 18 ; Matt. 5 : 14. 
When he had miraculously humbled Paul, he sent 
Ananias to him, Acts 9 : 10, and when he had sent 
an angel to Cornelius, it was but to bid him send for 
Peter, who must tell him what to believe and do. 

Direction IY. Betake yourselves to God in a course 
of earnest constant prayer. Confess and lament your 
former lives, and beg his grace to illuminate and con- 
vert you. Beseech him to pardon what is past, and to 
give you his Spirit, and change your hearts and lives, 
and lead you hi his ways, and save you from temp- 
tation. Pursue this work daily, and be not weary 
of it. 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



173 



Direction V. Presently give over your known and 
wilful sins. Make a stand, and go that way no farther. 
Be drunk no more, but avoid the very occasion of it. 
Cast away your lusts and sinful pleasures with detes- 
tation. Curse, and swear, and rail no more ; and if 
you have wronged any, restore, as Zaccheus did ; if 
you will commit again your old sins, what blessing 
can you expect on the means for conversion ? 

Direction VI. Immediately, if possible, change 
your company, if it hath hitherto been bad ; not by 
forsaking your necessary relations, but your unneces- 
sary sinful companions ; and join yourselves with 
those that fear the Lord, and inquire of them the 
way to heaven. Acts 9 : 26 ; Psalm 15 : 4. 

Direction VII. Deliver up yourselves to the Lord 
Jesus, as the physician of your souls, that he may par- 
don you by his blood, and sanctify you by his Spirit, 
by his word and ministers, the instruments of the 
Spirit. He is the way, the truth, and the life ; there 
is no coming to the Father but by him. John 14 : 6. 
Nor is there any other name under heaven by which 
you can be saved. Acts 4:12. Study, therefore, his 
person and natures, and what he hath done for you, 
and what he is to you, and what he will be, and how 
he is fitted to the full supply of all your necessities. 

Direction VIII. If you mean indeed to turn and 
live, do it speedily, without delay. If you be not 
willing to turn to-day, you are not willing to do it at 
all. Remember, you are all this while in your blood, 



174 



A CALL TO 



under the guilt of many thousand sins, and under God's 
wrath, and you stand at the very brink of hell ; there 
is but a step between you and death : and this is not 
a state for a man in his right mind to be quiet in. Up 
therefore presently, and fly as for your lives, as you 
would be gone out of your house if it were all on fire 
over your head, 0, if you did but know in what con- 
tinual danger you live, and what daily unspeakable 
loss you sustain, and what a safer and sweeter life you 
might live, you would not stand trifling, but presently 
turn. Multitudes miscarry that wilfully delay when 
they are convinced that it must be done. Your lives 
are short and uncertain ; and what a case are you in, 
if you die before you thoroughly turn ! You have 
stayed too long already, and wronged God too long. 
Sin getteth strength while you delay. Your conver- 
sion will grow more hard and doubtful. You have 
much to do, and therefore put not all off to the last, 
lest God forsake you, and give you up to yourselves, 
and then you are undone for ever. 

Direction IX. If you will turn and live, do it un- 
reservedly, absolutely, and universally. Think not to 
capitulate with Christ, and divide your heart between 
him and the world ; and to part with some sins and 
keep the rest ; and to let that go which your flesh can 
spare. This is but self-deluding ; you must in heart 
and resolution forsake all that you have, or else you 
cannot be Iris disciples. Luke 14 : 26, 33. If you will 
not take God and heaven for your portion, and lay all 



THE UNCONVERTED. 



375 



below at the feet of Christ, but you must needs also 
have your good things here, and have an earthly por- 
tion, and God and glory are not enough for you, it is 
vain to dream of salvation on these terms ; for it will 
not be. If you seem ever so religious, if yet it be but 
a carnal righteousness, and if the flesh's prosperity, 
or pleasure, or safety, be still excepted in your devot- 
edness to God, this is as certain a way to death as 
open profaneness, though it be more plausible. 

Direction X. If you will turn and live, do it re- 
solvedly, and stand not still deliberating, as if it were 
a doubtful case. Stand not wavering, as if you were 
uncertain whether God or the flesh be the better 
master, or whether sin or holiness be the better way, 
or whether heaven or hell be the better end. But 
away with your former lusts, and presently, habitu- 
ally, fixedly resolve. Be not one day of one mind 
and the next day of another ; but be at a point with 
all the world, and resolvedly give up yourselves and 
all you have to God. Now, while you are reading, 
or hearing this, resolve ; before you sleep another 
night, resolve ; before you stir from the place, resolve; 
before Satan have time to take you off, resolve. You 
will never turn indeed till you do resolve, and that 
with a firm unchangeable resolution. 

And now I have done my part in this work, that 
you may turn at the call of God and live. What 
will become of it I cannot tell. I have cast the seed 



176 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

at God's command ; but it is not in my power to give 
the increase. I can go no further with my message ; 
I cannot bring it to your heart, nor make it work ; I 
cannot do your part for you, which is to entertain it 
and consider it ; nor can I do God's part, by opening 
your heart to cause you to entertain it ; nor can I 
show heaven or hell to your sight, nor give you new 
and tender hearts. If I knew what more to do for 
your conversion, I hope I should do it. 

But 0 thou that art the gracious Father of spirits, 
thou hast sworn thou delightest not in the death of the 
wicked, but rather that they turn and live ; deny not 
thy blessing to these persuasions and directions, and 
suffer not thine enemies to triumph in thy sight, and 
the great deceiver of souls to prevail against thy Son, 
thy Spirit, and thy word. 0 pity poor, unconverted 
sinners, that have no hearts to pity or help themselves. 
Command the blind to see, and the deaf to hear, and 
the dead to live, and let not sin and death be able to 
resist thee. Awaken the secure, resolve the unresolv- 
ed, confirm the wavering ; and let the eyes of sinners, 
that read these hnes, be next employed in weeping over 
their sins, and bring them to themselves, and to thy 
Son, before their sins have brought them to perdition. 
If thou say but the word, these poor endeavors shall 
prosper to the winning of many a soul to their ever- 
lasting joy and thine everlasting glory. Amen. 



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